Moving Beyond PTO & WFH: 5 Companies With the Best Work-Life Balance

As millions of office workers around the world juggled their home and working lives in the same space last year, one thing became clear — work-life balance is arguably more important than it ever has been. 

According to Bloomberg, we are working an average of three hours extra a day. And the companies who do not prioritize work-life balance for their employees are likely to lose out and fall victim to the ‘Great Resignation.’ In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, some four million Americans quit their job in July 2021. The Harvard Business Review found this is most likely to impact 30-45-year-olds who work in health and tech and attributes a lot of it to high burnout associated with increased workloads. 

So, who are the companies with the best work-life balance and what can we learn from them about recruiting and retaining the best talent? And what lessons may work best at our own organizations?

Read on to find out how companies with good work-life balance are coming out on top, post-pandemic and what that may mean for the future of how we work.

1. Capital One’s holistic approach to wellbeing

Named in The Washington Post’s Top WorkPlaces of 2021 list, this financial giant employs 40,000 people and takes the approach that our financial, physical, and emotional wellbeing are closely linked. To maintain this, the group offers on-campus healthcare centers and access to affordable mental health care for their families. Capital One also encourages staff to get involved in community mentoring programs and increased paid time off for parents and caregivers during the pandemic. The company also encourages their staff to discuss important societal issues (such as the killing of George Floyd) with dedicated town halls and has pledged $200 million to support Black and Latinx small businesses.

2. Better.com’s emphasis on family support

Topping Fortune’s 2021 Best Workplaces in New York™ list, mortgage company Better.com had big plans for an on-site daycare ahead of the pandemic. To support parents working from home last year, they launched a virtual day camp called Better Birds to give their staff parents a much-needed break. As Alex D’Amico, senior director of talent strategy, told Fortune.com, it’s all about listening to your staff’s needs and reacting to them: “We always speak about being first-to-market and being nimble in the delivery of our product to our customer. And I think from an HR side, from the people team, we want to meet that model for our employees.”

Photo: Alexander Dummer via Unsplash

3. Sisense’s long weekends every quarter

For employees at data analytics software company Sisense (another one that made it onto Fortune’s 2021 Best Workplaces in New York™ list), work-life balance is helped immensely by ‘Coming Up For Air’ days. A unique perk, Sisense gives every staff member in the company the first Friday following the end of the quarter off. Nurit Shiber, chief people officer at Sisense told Fortune: “The intention was to allow us to recharge after each quarter by spending more time with our loved ones, participating in a fun activity, or by just taking a break and getting ready for the next quarter.” To really commit, the company bans emails and phone calls during this time. Each employee has two self-care days every quarter to rest up.

4. Forster Communications’ rewarding healthy commutes

Trying to change the culture of PR, an industry not known for work-life balance, Forster Communications not only developed a toolkit to help others in the sphere, they practice what they preach. Developed with Public Health England, the toolkit is free to download for employers in the UK and provides insights into physical activity, healthy eating, mental health, sleep, and recovery. To help encourage time out from the office, staff at the company who walk or cycle to the office are rewarded with extra PTO days and can gain money back from every mile they actively commute to meetings.

5. Expedia’s travel allowance for loyalty

Once called “The Happiest Workplace in the UK” by Business Insider, travel company Expedia rewards staff who stay at the company for at least 12-18 months with a travel allowance of between £6,000 (around $8,176) and £10,000 (around $13,626). The company also encourages staff to pursue activities of their choice with a wellness allowance of between £400 and £1,200 ($545 - $1635). Staff can spend these on items such as running shoes, tennis rackets, or gym memberships to help them switch off from work.

Whether you would benefit most from a healthier commute, an on-site daycare, an amazing free holiday, access to Nike’s 286-acre sports center, or Netflix’s full year of parental leave, companies with the best work-life balance are changing the landscape. They are showing us that there are more ways to reward employees than just salary or seniority and that now is an important time for companies to really listen and provide for their staff’s work-life balance needs. 

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