Introducing “Seven to Seven”: Striking the right work-life balance at Talon

 

 

In a world where we are constantly bombarded with information and reachable through every means possible, it is important more than ever to be able to take time out to switch off. This could not be truer when it comes to the workplace where increasingly employees are given their very own laptop and/or smartphone on their first day.

There are countless studies that emphasise the benefits of work-life balance for the wellbeing of employees as well as for the bottom line of businesses. However, getting this work-life balance right is not always easy. Mainly because, as employers, we often leave it to our employees to manage this balance themselves.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many employer initiatives that promote wellbeing such as flexible working and additional leave, both of which we endorse and encourage. But these initiatives go only as far as to facilitate work-life balance and the onus remains on the employee to ensure they are switching off when they should be.

Take flexible working, for example. More and more companies are encouraging their workforce to work flexibly and define their own hours, a positive move and the right one for this day and age. However, there is a danger here that for some employees every day becomes a working day and that all hours are subject to working.

Here at Talon we seek to not only arm our staff with the tools to enable work-life balance but also guide them on how to achieve it by setting boundaries. Our most recent wellbeing initiative does just that.

With ‘Seven to Seven’ we actively encourage our staff to not send any non-urgent internal or external emails between the hours of 7pm to 7am the next day Monday to Friday and on weekends between 7pm on a Friday to 7am the following Monday.

The aim of the initiative is to get employees into the habit of not monitoring emails once they have left the office so they can focus on those important and grounding non-work related areas of their lives, be it their families, hobbies or just unwinding. Pivotal to making this work has been getting our managers to set the example and practical tips have been provided to help staff adhere to the no email hours.

After a well-received trial internally, the guidelines have now been communicated externally to make our clients aware that we are encouraging staff to not respond to any emails during these hours, unless urgent. The reason being is so our staff do not feel added pressure to respond to non-urgent, external emails until a reasonable hour or the next working day. In other words, not being on call 24/7.

As a client-facing business, this is a bold move for us. This initiative certainly doesn’t undermine the quality or work and high level of service we provide as a business. And external parties should be reassured that it is still very much business as usual in terms of deliverables. Our priority will always be delivering for our clients and agencies.

But as an employer who genuinely cares about the wellbeing of our staff – and not just being seen to be – we are not afraid to go against the grain for the good of our people. This is why we ranked in the top 10 Best Small Companies to Work for in 2016 and continue to receive accolades in our approach to our people.

Nevertheless, we don’t claim to have hit the nail on the head when it comes to work-life balance and never rest on our laurels when looking to enhance our staff’s wellbeing. However, with a notably high retention rate compared to industry averages, and employees who go above and beyond to do their job and produce impeccable results (within set parameters, of course), our bold approach is certainly working.

 

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