Espeo BHAG, Episode 2: “Success Through Balance”

Work-life balance is one of the modish buzzwords of today. The assumption behind this idea is the employee’s fulfillment in all life spheres that shouldn’t compete with each other. Sounds beautiful, but how many employers in Poland truly believe it? How many companies know how to wisely invest in their employees’ well-being and turn it to their business success? And how many are just blowing their own trumpet by superficial references to this trendy catchword on the employer-branding’s grounds?

 In Espeo, we believe that striking the right balance between work, family and “me” time determines not only what we call social responsibility, but is also able to generate sustainable competitive advantage. It decides, in fact, if an employee is in a condition to produce quality value to our clients. And when it comes to producing good results, we all agree that the happier you feel yourself, the better spouse, parent, friend, or – in fact – worker you are going to be. With the above in mind, here’s what practices supporting work-file balance we have implemented in Espeo so far.

Flextime / flexplace

Espeo is definitely not a nine-to-five company. While there is a core period of the day when we are expected to be at work, the rest is ‘flexible time’ in which we can choose when we work, not forgetting about the total number of hours, goals or work that needs to be done. Many employees prize this system a lot, as it lets them adapt their work hours to their private schedules: public transport, traffic jams, their children’s timetables, or their after work activities and hobbies. Some of us are night owls and some are early birds, and most of us will confirm that not having to report for work daily at an artificially imposed time contributes to our work comfort and efficiency. Though we have not yet introduced the possibility to work full time home office, we try to be flexible in reference to place of work as well. All of us have the possibility to work home office a couple of days each month if they have such need. This comes in particularly handy to those of us who are young parents.

Strict maximum hours

Being consistent with its flexible approach Espeo hires people on the basis of various contracts. An employment agreement, B2B or a civil law contract – the choice is yours. Whatever your specific situation and needs, we do not want you to work continuously without holidays. Subsequently, willing to secure that no employee will work more than 20 days/month on average yearly we decided to introduce ten days’ paid holidays for all employees working on contracts other than employment agreement.

A sound mind in a sound body

Implementing the idea of work-life balance in Espeo we were guided by getting to know each other better – what our hobbies were, how we relaxed, what ignited our joy. It was not without significance that our work involved intense concentration and sedentary position. It turned out that the way most of us would recharge their batteries after work and what we, in fact, felt we needed to sense balance was physical exercise. That is why Multisport was not a yet another thoughtless benefit on the list of most popular offered to employees but a conscious grassroot initiative that has been quickly followed by new ideas of sports events and activities that received Espeo’s financing. Today we have an active football team and squash leagues whose members practice weekly having a great opportunity to let off steam after work. A group of us is training to run the 8th Poznan Half Marathon in April.

Concentrate on what you do

Technology has helped contemporary life in many ways. But it has also created expectations of constant accessibility. In many companies smartphones are used to have the employees on call when they’re not physically at work, so the work day never seems to end. In Espeo we are not “on a leash”. My boss knows my mobile number well, but he doesn’t call me or text me when I am off. We try to adhere to a principle: when at work, concentrate 100% on work (respect dates, time limits and deadlines, limit time-wasting activities), when off work, cherish your free time 100%. Discomfort from not spending quality and focused time with your loved ones affects your focus. Combined with insufficient sleep, bad diet and no exercise, it is the straight path to stress and failure – in both private and professional life. To truly achieve success, you must live a balanced life.

If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life

No doubt, it is easier when you find a career that matches your life and personality. That is why in Espeo we take special care of two things: first, we hire people that perceive their job as passion, who love what they do; second, we hire people who match our philosophy. Being able to gain satisfaction from their job, they bring greater enjoyment to their life and are less susceptible to burnout. Sharing similar  understanding of professionalism, excellence, collaboration and responsibility, they stand better chance of finding themselves at home with our values, attitudes and practices, and so feel comfortable and relaxed when at work.

We want our team to take pride in our organisation, be able to recommend it as a place to work, and to have high overall job satisfaction. Because maintaining balance is not easy by definition and we don’t want to let it slip even for a while, we keep our finger on the pulse by weekly assessment of our current job satisfaction, work strain and degree to which we perceive our running tasks as fascinating. Espeo wants to be a place where needs of various individuals are understood. We gladly employ young parents (knowing that they are masters of multitasking and prioritizing), enthusiasts of extraordinary hobbies (as we believe they will have similar passion for their job) or socially engaged people (whose soft skill we appreciate a lot). Through balance we want to achieve success.
author: Małgorzata Pietraszewska

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