Beating Quarantine Fatigue: Seeking Balance in an Emergency
Like many other SaaS companies, Guru shifted to a fully remote workforce in March. It was an easy decision; we wanted to make sure our employees were able to stay healthy, comply with state and local public health directives, and take care of their families without worrying about job stability. We were proud when our CEO, Rick Nucci, signed Mark Benioff’s no layoffs pledge, and even more so to close our Series C round, and to be able to announce new features.
That’s all to say that we’ve all been working—really hard. While we’re always excited to be part of Guru, lately, as individuals, we’ve been feeling grateful and fortunate to be part of a company that has made job security a priority. As a leadership team, however, we noticed something: through a combination of life and work having no real separation, the days blending together, and that very same feeling of gratitude, our team members have started to risk burning out.
We’re data-driven, so we looked into the details. Here’s what we found: Slack conversations were starting earlier and ending later, and because leisure travel is curtailed, people were reluctant to take any flexible paid time off—despite the encouragement of team leads. So we decided to do something about it.
Working to alleviate quarantine work fatigue
One of our core values is to Seek Balance, which is why we’re announcing that, in addition to protecting the physical health and job security of our employees, Guru is taking the next four Fridays off as a company. We want people to actually unplug, and we don’t want anyone to feel pressured to work just because someone else is. We want parents to spend time with their kids without guilt, and everyone to be able to go grocery shopping at off hours to avoid lengthy weekend lines.
As a company, we’re asking everyone to slow down a bit. No, we’re not expecting 5 days worth of work to get done in 4. Our entire leadership team is fully bought into this program, and we’ll be working with the rest of the company to incorporate this new schedule into our larger priorities and objectives. We know that when people have the true opportunity to rest and recharge, it’s far easier to focus on work upon return.
For certain teams, like our peerless customer success and engineering organizations, we know that this kind of full stop isn’t possible. In those cases, some of the team will be off Friday, and the other half will be off the following Monday, so that our customers do not need to worry about any service interruptions.
Our plans moving forward
Additionally, because the overall safety and wellness of our team is our first priority, we’re going to take it slow in deciding when to reopen our Philadelphia and San Francisco offices. In the unlikely event that restrictions are eased between now and June, Guru will not be one of the first non-essential businesses in either location to open; we’re content to watch and learn before formally reopening.
With this approach, the absolutely earliest we could begin a phased transition back to either office would be after the July 4th holiday. We’re making this decision now to allow everyone to plan ahead for the next two months, as well as reduce anxiety related to the unknown. When we do eventually reopen, coming into either office will be optional for an extended period of time. We know this is a personal decision to make, dependent on individual factors.
As a knowledge-driven culture, we’re able to use our own product to make this kind of operations change without impacting business, and we’re committed to helping make this kind of flexible, connected, and collaborative remote culture available to everyone.