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5 Secrets For a Better Work-Life Balance: Inside Hootsuite Culture

By Alyssa Kritsch | 12 months ago | Skills | No Comments

HootSuite's yoga room hosts complimentary classes for staff.
HootSuite’s yoga room hosts complimentary classes for staff throughout the week.

What It Means to Work Smarter

Staying fit and healthy while killing it on the job can be tough.

At HootSuite, where things tend to move at a lightning speed, it can be especially challenging for many of us to maintain a good work-life balance.

Luckily, our work culture supports us in keeping our health and wellness a top priority. The mentality trickles down from the top. In a recent interview with Fast Company, our CEO Ryan Holmes, who is an avid cyclist, rock-climber and yoga fan, shared some of his ideas on the subject. He explained, “Managers are thinking that they’re getting more out of people if their employees are chained to their desk… I’d rather find people that can work smarter.”

Here are 5 ways we at HootSuite are doing things that make us happier and healthier, so we can work smarter:

1. We Honour Our Lunch Hour

noon-workout
‘The Jimmy Sluggers’ are one of HootSuite’s lunch hour workout groups, led by staff member and resident fitness trainer Gerard Recio.

HootSuite’s kitchen is the heart of the office, a large, open space with microwave ovens, dishwashers, picnic tables and more. It really caters to our tight-knit community of salad-loving, lunch-sharing coworkers. We love to enjoy our food while taking a mental break from work by regularly connecting with our colleagues.

Lunch hour is also a great time to get some in some exercise at HootSuite. Whether it’s a routine ping pong match, a walk around the block or even a 45-minute power workout in our in-house gym, it’s amazing to see people getting up from their desks and moving their bodies at lunch time.

“The noon workout is a great break for me as it forces me to get away from my desk.

In fact one of our staff members, Gerard, who just happens to be a certified fitness trainer, has recently started a noon hour workout group. Anyone can join in for free and work out with professional guidance twice a week. Says Gerard:

“The noon workout is a great break for me as it forces me to get away from my desk. I workout with, lead and train a great team. It’s the team aspect that is really important. You always show up so you don’t let each other down, you plan your meals around it and even go to bed earlier the night before.”

2. We find Ways to Get Outside (Even If Just For a Small Break)

green-team
HootSuite’s ‘Green Team’, a group of staff volunteers, attends regular workshops and is responsible for maintaining the rooftop gardens.

The urban garden growing on the rooftop of our office HootSuite isn’t just a place to harvest healthy snacks and salad ingredients. For those of us who live and breath in the digital world, it’s a place where we can grab a gulp of fresh air or grab ten minutes in the sun.

Many studies have shown the benefits of exposure to natural light for humans. Those who spend more time in natural lighting tend to have considerably higher levels of of productivity, alertness and even sleep longer at night.

Many of us go for “walking meetings” outside, bike to work or even bring our laptops up to the roof or office front stoop for an hour.

3. We Benefit From Dog Therapy.

Cash, one of HootSuite's full time dogs, spends her workdays with mom Chandra on HootSuite's Account Management team.
Cash, one of HootSuite’s full time dogs, spends her workdays with mom Chandra and HootSuite’s Corporate Account Management team.

A recent study by the University of Missouri found that interacting with animals significantly increases your levels of Oxytocin, the hormone that causes people to feel happy and trusting. At HootSuite, there are nearly 20 full time dogs that work alongside us each day.

Having dogs in the office is not just fun, it actually gets some us through rough days. Staff member Nicole, explains how her coworker’s dog Leelou affects her work days:

“You walk in in the morning and Leelou’s right there, always so happy to see you. When things get stressful or difficult I can take a “dog break,” which might be a short walk with her or even just taking a moment to go say hello. She really makes everything easier and better.”

4. We Take Afternoon Naps.

The HootSuite nap room contains multiple cot style beds and custom lighting for midday power naps.
The HootSuite nap room contains multiple cot style beds and custom lighting for midday power naps.

Short, 10 to 20 minutes power naps have been shown to give people a quick boost in energy and alertness, without the detrimental effects (eg. grogginess) of a longer one. Many forward-thinking companies have caught onto the trend, letting their employees nap in the workplace. HootSuite is one of them.

I can go to rest my eyes and my mind for 10-15 minutes and come back to my desk feeling energized for the rest of the day.

At HootSuite, napping is part of our core philosophy on health and wellness. Our office boasts a very serene nap room, snuggled in next to the yoga studio, with comfy cots available for your midday rest. Stephanie, a member of HootSuite’s Community Team, told me how the nap room helps her stay more alert on the job:

“Whether it’s my bright computer screen, posture, or general lack of sleep, sometimes I just can’t help myself from feeling tired at the office. We’ve all had one of those days and it’s often difficult to shake off. Thankfully we have a nap room where I can go to rest my eyes and my mind for 10-15 minutes and come back to my desk feeling energized for the rest of the day.”

5. We Stay Fuelled With Healthy Snacks.

Ryan Holmes themed Snackbox. Image courtesy of Canadian Box Addict
Ryan Holmes recently teamed up with Vancouver-based snack delivery company Snackbox, to create a custom box full of his favorite healthy snacks.

Image courtesy of Canadian Box Addict

We don’t shy away from snacks, but we tend to avoid the sugary fatty kinds that keep us from feeling good throughout the day.

Luckily, healthy snacking is made easy at HootSuite, where we get 230 pounds of fresh, local fruit delivered to our doorstep every week. Add to that the organic vegetables growing in our rooftop garden and the wheatgrass that is harvested and juiced in-house and you have no excuses. Staff David, who helps organize these healthy snacking initiatives, explains:

“We’re lucky to work in an atmosphere that inspires positive lifestyle choices. You should see the size of some of the salads around here! “

I always keep healthy snacks on my desk, like almonds and kale chips, to keep me fueled throughout the day.

Our CEO Ryan (who clocks in some long hours) is a big advocate of healthy snacking. “Running a tech company and being on the road constantly for business, my life has never been so hectic,” he says. “So when I’m in the office, I always keep healthy snacks on my desk, like almonds and kale chips, to keep me fueled throughout the day.”

In fact, Ryan’s recently teamed up with Vancouver-based snack delivery company Snackbox, to create a custom box full of his favorite healthy snacks.

Want to discover healthy snacks delivered to your door? Go to this link and enter the coupon code: HOOTSNACKS15 to get $15 off your first Snackbox. (Offer expires Nov. 30, 2013, and is only valid for new customers based in Canada.)

See more of the #HootSuiteLife and head on over to our Careers Page.

6 comments
JessieNunez
JessieNunez

Getting outside is definitely a mental and physical booster for me. I like to take 20-40 minute walks to recharge.

BrittanyHumphry
BrittanyHumphry

This is amazing...definitely the type of company I want to work for

HealthSource Solutions
HealthSource Solutions

Creating a culture of wellness and balance creates happy, healthy and productive employees! We practice what we preach at HealthSource Solutions also and compliment the team at HootSuite for their committment to workplace wellness! 

awyeahsarah
awyeahsarah

Some inspiring leadership going on at Hootsuite! I hope other CEOs are paying attention...

johnkavadias
johnkavadias

kudos to hootsuite for integrating care of the body to care for the mind in the workplace