Inkitt tends to attract folks who are independent-minded and driven, and the company hires the brightest of the bright. Whether they’re part of a creative team, in the marketing and advertising department, or designing technology, Inkitt employees are excited about the mission and enthusiastic about their role in the company’s success. Despite this dedication, or maybe because of it, stress can take its toll.
In an age when many of us work remotely, and the internet keeps us connected day and night, it’s easy to forget we need real downtime. “I’ve never had trouble shutting down when the day was over before, but when I first joined Inkitt, I found myself thinking about it after hours, and I wanted to continue working all the time. The product was just so cool. For the first month or two, I really enjoyed the mindset of not shutting down,” says Jaime Franco Javara, Product Manager.
Rita Halle, Product Marketing Manager, echoes this sentiment. “I’d get up early to start work, catch myself not taking a lunch break, and then thinking about work well into the evening. At first it felt like a super-power, because I was so excited about what I was doing. I’m still excited about it.” But, she and Jaime agree, this kind of pace is unsustainable.
“It started impacting my sleep,” Rita says. Now, she takes a lunch break every day and often will get outside twice per day for a walk in the fresh air. Jaime mutes his notifications in the morning and after 7 pm at night.
Gabriel Escolana Lobo, Senior Product Manager, worked for ten years in start-ups, so he’s used to the speed, pace, excitement, and stress that comes with this kind of job. “I’m known to be a bit of a workaholic. In the past, I’d devote all my time to a project. I had to learn the hard way that this was unhealthy.”
When Gabriel became a dad a year-and-a-half ago, it was a catalyst for changing his behavior and establishing a better work/life balance. “I’m prioritizing my family time now. A small child requires your full attention. I put my phone away and I’m fully present. I’ve also become more efficient with my time and more protective of my time. It’s a learning curve and I haven’t mastered it yet,” he jokes.
Anna Vasileva, Translations Team Lead, also disconnects from her technology to get a break. “I have a rule that when I take my dog for a walk twice a day, I put my phone on airplane mode and just walk around and not react to any notifications or anything. These are probably my favorite times of the day. Even if everything is super intense around me, I always know that I have that time to recharge, and I will not be disturbed by anything else.”
In addition to establishing boundaries and taking time away from work, physical activity, hobbies, and relaxation exercises all help reduce stress and promote the overall mental and physical health of Inkitt employees. Yoga, meditation, running, dancing, music, and socializing are on Jaime, Rita, and Gabriel’s short list of favorite activities. Anna spends considerable time outside of work volunteering at animal shelters.
Inkitt, as a company, takes the well-being of its employees seriously. Creating a collaborative environment that rewards innovation and hard work goes a long way to establishing a healthy work culture. “Competitive salaries are a concrete way the company shows its employees that their work is valued,” Jaime says.
Gabriel identifies the flexible work time, and the ability to work remotely, on site, or some combination of both as a real plus. “I have the autonomy to work when I’m most productive rather than at some prescribed time. It’s about achieving my goals. Inkitt trusts us to work in the way that’s most effective.”
The comradery fostered by the company shows up in the little things as well. “If one person is ordering food, they’ll take everyone’s order,” Jaime says.
Inkitt goes beyond simply encouraging a supportive, flexible work environment to promote employee wellbeing. They offer real perks like gym memberships, and a mental health initiative that includes access to counselors and a weekly, company-wide meeting with a wellness coach. “It’s really helped me manage my stress. It was the counselor who strongly encouraged me to take a lunch break every day,” Rita says. She’s also realized the stress she puts on herself isn’t necessarily real. “I’m learning what’s internal and what’s external stress.”
“It’s very easy to say work is stress, or some other external thing causes stress, but really it’s inside us, and we choose how to respond to it,” Jaime adds.
As we learn to navigate work in the modern age, especially in the post-COVID environment, it’s important to mind our mental and physical health. Even when we love what we do, we can still find ourselves stressed out or burned out. Focusing on our own well-being first might require a mindset shift and a few changed habits, but in the end, we’ll be healthier and more productive for it!