Talon Outdoor, a media agency, has a people-first philosophy. The organization prides itself on hiring smart, enthusiastic and driven individuals, and then taking it that one step further and treating them like adults. This has certainly worked for the agency, proven by accolades such as ranking first in their second year of entry in the UK’s Sunday Times “100 Best Small Companies to Work For” after being in the top 10 the previous year.
As part of the company’s health and wellbeing strategy, it was important to find ways to support employees and improve work–life balance/integration. As Mapara Fernandez, Head of People, says,
In a world where we’re constantly bombarded with information and reachable through every means possible, it’s important more than ever to be able to take time out to switch off.
The result was a bold new approach to e-mail called “Seven to Seven”: Guidelines that encourage employees not to send non-urgent e-mails between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m., all seven days of the week. “The aim of the initiative is to get employees into the habit of not monitoring e-mail once they’ve 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,” says Fernandez. They also wanted to ensure that employees were aware of the impact of e-mails on themselves and their quality of life, as well as their colleagues, and then let them make the best decision.
To support these new guidelines, they did three things. The first was helping employees think through the impact of e-mails sent outside windows—that is, how it feels when you receive an e-mail at 8 p.m., and how it affects your home life and your state of mind. Second, the company provided practical tips on how employees could continue to work effectively, such as by delaying the delivery of e-mails. Finally, the approach was shared with clients through a press release. “Clients respected what we were doing, seeing that we genuinely cared about the wellbeing of our staff. They also saw that the initiative didn’t undermine the quality of work and high level of service we provide as a business,” says Fernandez.
This new process has resulted in the company improving its Best Companies Wellbeing score, ranking third-highest in this category in 2016.