Software engineers have a skill set that is highly sought after, yet we often find ourselves feeling undervalued and overworked by our employers. Being disruptive and moving fast is what the tech industry is famous for, but does it require us to give up our families, friends, or other passions?
Working on Key Values, I’ve discovered several tech companies that not only care about work/life balance, but also prioritize it. Even more surprising, I’ve learned just how many ways people define that term.
Below are the engineering teams that list work/life balance as one of their key values. Hopefully, it will help you better understand what it means to you, and find a team that has it.
Once you do, here are questions about work/life balance you can ask in your interview.
Our team members work 32-hour weeks and you’ll decide with the team which days you’ll take off. We want at least 2 days every week where we’re all in the office together (currently, it’s Monday and Thursday). It’s common to take Wednesdays off (aka mid-weekend), and our team is super fresh on Thursdays. The founders (Alex, Moe, and Robert) do work on Wednesdays, so if you ever want to reach out, they’re available.
We also incorporate a Friday lunch where we’ll take the team out and invite friends from other companies to join us. It has become a bit of a tradition and it’s important to us to be close with other people at other companies.
1 Open Positions
When we started in 2000, engineers were often siloed off. There seemed to be a lack of respect for both the work engineers were doing and their balance between work and personal commitments. The company was founded by a group of people who saw value in people’s ability to focus very intensely during the day and then completely unplug at the end of the day. Work/life balance to us means that when you come into work, you work hard and when you’re done, you’re completely done. At Carbon Five, you get to work on really interesting things without the overhead of politics, harsh deadlines, working weekends, or pagerduty.
We also have sabbaticals at Carbon Five. One of the benefits of being a consulting company is that it’s natural and easy for people to take time off. After one project ends, there is a wrap up to the work and provides an opportunity to take time off without disruption. Once you’ve been with the company for 2 years, you can take 3 months off (unpaid). It is an uninterrupted block of time that people use to spend the entire summer with their kids, surf, launch an album, or go rock climbing. It’s an opportunity for you to do whatever you want.
As a company, we foster healthy work/life balance, which means our working arrangements are flexible and we do not mind if you occasionally need to take a day or two to work from home. That being said, we have an amazing team, so you’ll likely want to be around them as much as possible.
All full-time employees receive unlimited PTO. We encourage people to use it and do not expect anyone to be on call or answering emails while taking PTO. In fact, we respect PTO so much that we'll discourage you from doing any work while you're off! We know taking time off is necessary, and the only way to return to work feeling rejuvenated is if you leave work at work. What’s more, the office environment is fairly flexible and it’s common for team members to head out to exercise during the day or take care of a personal errand at their leisure.
Our focus on work/life balance makes Change.org a great place for people with children, too. We support mothers and fathers who are going through the everyday ups and downs of parenting by letting them create their own schedule. As an exceptional added benefit, both moms and dads get 18 weeks paid parental leave when a baby joins the family. You’ll often see special appearances of our beloved Change.org kids (and dogs!) popping into the frame on video calls when meetings occur from home.
Engineers typically work 8 hours a day on a flexible schedule. As a company, we accommodate each person’s lifestyle and trust that they’ll choose which hours are their most productive ones. As a team, we push hard to meet deadlines, but we also take time to relax when things are slower. We start every morning with a quick (15-min max) 10 a.m. company-wide stand-up, and when we’re not working, we enjoy late night gaming, watching college football, playing in-office shuffleboard, and the occasional adult beverage.
We come to work, work hard, and then we go home. For example, Jake leaves at 5:30 p.m. twice a week to do Yoga, Ben attends Mandarin language classes, and family-man Gabe has a 2-year-old who he is already encouraging to learn how to code ;) Gabe and Greg both love snowboarding and are organizing a team trip to Tahoe. Exercise and nature is good.
For the engineering team, we don’t care how many hours you work, we only care that you deliver and have enough overlap with your teammates at the office. Working from home is fine from time to time, but as a small startup, it can be hard to work remote.
Labor Automation Cloud Platform
New York, Toronto, and Lexington (just outside of Boston)
(By the way, our data team ensured that we sampled our key:values in randomized order so there would be no artificial clustering!)
Our engineers are organized into multiple agile teams. A product owner/manager handles the product research, defines and prioritizes feature stories, and communicates with customers, while the scrum team of engineers execute the lion’s share of the work. These teams are supported by the quality, design, data, and techops teams. To that end, each product owner ensures that efforts are aligned with business/customer values, with each sprint sized appropriately to that team based on its historical performance. Rarely do teams overcommit, enabling a us to run marathons over releases than burning out over sprints.
Work hours are relatively flexible with pre-agreed standup times and scrum meetings, dependent on the internal planning by the team. Working together remotely is standard fare as we’re empowered using modern collaboration software (JIRA, Zoom, Github, etc.). We have four offices (New York, Toronto, Long Island, Lexington) across two different countries (US and Canada) and a handful of entirely-remote contributors.
There is a lot of interest in fitness, nutrition, biohacking, and meditation across all teams at BuildZoom. Whenever possible, meetings are converted into walking meetings or standups, though engineers typically won’t have many meetings to attend. We have unlimited PTO, and engineers typically arrive between 8am and 10:30am, and leave between 5:30pm and 8:30pm. No one is keeping track of that. The way we see it is, the goal is to drive the success of BuildZoom forward, not clock hours.
We all realize that being healthy and happy make us more productive at work. Currently, we don’t think anyone at the company has many unhealthy habits, including over-working. (Well. Maybe snacking. Some us do eat a lot of snacks here.)
Most engineers at Sticker Mule work regular office hours in their timezone. We only work from Monday to Friday and stick to 40-hour workweeks. These hours are flexible though, and people can set their own schedules. Many people set their work hours in a way that allows them to spend time with their kids, workout during the day, or match their partner’s working schedule. We also offer 28 days off per year and we ensure people make full use of their paid time off.
Unless you’re on-call, you are not expected to be responsive when you’re off work. (Yes, please turn off Slack notifications when you’re not working!) Because we work remotely, we all get more time back from not having to commute. We have a surprising number of team members that have gardening as a hobby, and also have amateur woodworkers, musicians, and cooks on our team. We have dedicated cross-team Slack channels for off-work topics, such as #music, #gardening, and #food. For those working at home, coffee breaks can feel lonely, so these are great virtual meeting places where everyone can contribute and enjoy each other's presence in ways that aren’t strictly related to work!
Sticker Mule is primarily a custom printed products company. We make several other products including buttons, labels, coasters, and various packaging products with more in the pipeline. We don't take what we do too seriously – we are just selling stickers after all 😉 – and have projects like Mule Sauce that is both super fun and also a great marketing device. (It fits our brand, is highly memorable, and people love it!)
The seasonality of our clients sometimes requires short bursts of all-hands-on deck, but we always balance that with time to get outside and enjoy the beautiful places where we’ve chosen to run our company. Every office is dog friendly and situated close to trails where you can get outside and stretch your (and your four-legged friend’s) legs when needed. We’ve been named to Outside Magazine’s Best Places to Work List for two consecutive years and hope to earn the honor again this fall.
1 Open Positions
Teams have flexible working hours and regularly hold offsites and other social events to take a break from day-to-day responsibilities. We also have an unlimited PTO policy. Most engineers are on-call monthly, though it’s pretty quiet. There are still occasions where teams have to make a big push, but these are the exception and not the rule.
We arrange volunteering events through our community service group and field company teams for basketball, soccer, softball, and even cornhole. We have other employee groups like NerdOut who provide a community and host on-site events for our LGBTQ nerds and NerdWomen who contribute to the mentorship and growth of our female Nerds.
Distributed tracing and observability for your complex environment
San Francisco, CA or Remote
We directly assess teamwork and communication in our paired interview processes and day-to-day work. This means that when teammates need to leave early, arrive late, work from home, take a self-care day, or use some of their (unlimited) PTO, we can genuinely support them in life’s ever-changing needs. Many of our individual contributors, managers, leaders, and even our founders take care of young children; we take pride in our generous maternity and paternity leave policies and respect each other’s offline time, which allow people to continue growing their careers at LightStep after becoming parents.
Additionally, many LightSteppers lead passions outside of development and tech, from soccer players to trapeze artists to musicians and fire spinners. We also enjoy getting involved in the community by giving our time with local nonprofits like the Tenderloin People’s Garden and 826 Valencia.
Our founders have taken a conscious approach to building a culture of balance in all things, especially the way we each balance work and life outside of work. In 2015, one of our founders, Dustin, wrote a piece about working hard and living well, highlighting that “We could be accomplishing more, and we could be providing a better life for all of the people who work in technology.” He urged, “If you’re going to devote the best years of your life to work, do so intentionally. You can do great things AND live your life well. You can have it all, and science says you should.”
This core belief carries over to our culture, in which we encourage that people employ a work-life fractal of sorts: “Real work-life balance is best achieved when you take into account [all] time frames, and you trade between them, whether you’re aware of that or not.”
Achieving sustained velocity goes beyond balancing the hours and days that you work though. It is also achieved through cultural practices in the day to day that emphasize sustainability instead of sheer output. To that end, we foster a culture of support—not competition—between teams, and distributed responsibility to empower every employee to take full ownership of their responsibilities and contributions. Learn more about our Engineering values.
A typical engineer will work 7-8 hours a day in the office. We don’t have set hours, but typically people are in the office from 9-5. The expectation is that you will work hard and effectively, but not on a particular schedule. There is no expectation that you will work nights or weekends. There is occasional work from home left to the engineer's discretion, but we want everyone to be in the office everyday as we primarily collaborate in person. We have a rotating on-call schedule where every engineer will be on-call 24/7 for a week at a time to act as first responder to critical problems in production.
Our entire company will get together for quarterly 'hangs'. In the past this has included a 3-day trip (Wednesday through Friday) to Tahoe and Santa Cruz, team dinners, and mini-golf.
Modernizing how B2B companies manage invoice-to-cash
Lawrenceville, NJ / Denver and Boulder, CO / Woodbridge, NJ
The business prioritizes milestones and product vision, but our engineering teams are responsible for release and sprint commitments. Teams are trusted to complete the work they have committed to and we focus on providing value to the business, not on how many hours we spend in the office. Our engineering teams are trusted to ensure they meet release and sprint commitments but while we work hard, Billtrust is not the kind of company where people wind up working long weeks on a regular basis.
There may be an evening deployment occasionally, where members from the team are standing by, but otherwise there is no expectation to work on weekends. (If we do, it’s an individual choice and never a mandate.) Work hours are flexible (with the understanding that you are still engaged with your team) and 40-45 hours per week is typical. We prefer employees to be on site as much as possible, as we value collocation and feel the best collaboration occurs in person. However, if you need to be home for an appointment or one of your children is feeling sick, there is plenty of flexibility.
We built this into the culture from day one, ensuring everything from time in the office to vacation policy supports this. Yes, we occasionally need to sprint hard, but we rest up to make sure we have the energy to do so.
We have an unlimited vacation policy, and our Chief Product Officer sets an example from the top by actually taking PTO. We encourage folks to take at least four weeks per year, and many take up to six. We know how important it is to unwind away from the office and will gently chide someone (we’re looking at you Brian 👀😂) if they haven’t taken a vacation in a while. The office also largely shuts down around the December holidays.
We value new parents, and with our paid leave policy (12 weeks for the birth parent and 6 weeks for the non-birthing parent), we’re flexible about doing it all at once, parceling it out over time, or tapering back into work with a few days per week and extended work-from-home.
1 Open Positions
There are also multiple configurations in terms of the number of hours people work each week. Engineers are mindmatters work anywhere between 20 hours to 40 hours per week. There is a tremendous amount of flexibility for everyone, especially those who work less than 40 hours. Some choose to work consistent hours each day and week, balancing time between working and spending time with their kids and family. Others who have a contract under 40 hours will still work 40-hour weeks in order to accumulate overtime which they can then use as extra holiday.
Parental leave is flexible and in line with German standard laws (which is 12 months) and we are also open to remote engineers. One of our team members recently transitioned into being fully remote. At least a third of our engineers balance working remotely and onsite at the office because they live in the same city and decide where they’ll work from day to day.
1 Open Positions
We are by no means only looking to hire people from our same demographic, but it’s worth providing context on who our founding team members are and where we are in our lives. We are generally mid-30’s to mid-40’s, and all of us have families and lives outside of work. Our diverse work experience has led us to the conclusion that, over the long term, healthy, well-balanced individuals are more productive. Even though it’s a cliché, we truly believe in the “it’s a marathon, not a sprint” approach.
Everyone has slightly different working hours. We work enough to get things done and only ask that folks be available for a handful of weekly times to collaborate and catch up. Having said that, we try to always be accessible to our customers and will put in the extra hours when needed. As a customer-first company, we are willing to drop everything when our customers need it. Luckily, our customers typically work 9-5 M-F, so it’s rare that anything comes up outside of standard working hours.
As a company, we hold offsite meetings in a different city each quarter. We get together for three days to plan, bond, and have fun. Most recently, we went to Atlanta, and are headed to Denver next!
We have a flexible vacation policy, and keep the office full of love by having Flexpups (Flexport puppies) around.
We have board game night every other Wednesday for a night of spirited competition.
The team even goes on camping, biking, hiking, and rafting trips together -- and we have a surprising number of roommates working here!
15 Open Positions
Distributed Revision Control and Source Code Management
San Francisco, CA (HQ); Boulder, CO; Amsterdam; Tokyo; Remote (65%)
We encourage Hubbers to build amazing things with a high level of autonomy and self direction. Work/life balance is important to us, so we have flexible work schedules and unlimited PTO. We also offer five months of paid family leave to all new parents with the flexibility of using it all at once, or throughout the baby’s first year.
GitHub’s core values are: Collaboration, Empathy, Quality, Positive Impact, and Shipping. We care most about what’s getting shipped, its quality, and its impact, and less about exactly when it’s happening.
Our engineers come from different walks of life, with very diverse backgrounds and are at different stages of their lives and careers. We realize that our team has a life outside of work, they have families, children, pets, elders and themselves to care for. Our engineers come and go at different times, some arrive at 8 and leave at 5, some arrive at 10 and leave at 7. It’s hard to get exact data on this because nobody is keeping track. At the same time, we also believe that building amazing products requires in-person interaction and collaboration and which is why we encourage presence in office during our core hours from 10am-4pm.
As a company, we are building something amazing and now is not the time to slow down, but we also understand that changing an industry doesn’t require everyone to give up life outside of work. We are engineers with lives outside of work and we encourage people to spend time with their family, pursue hobbies, and enjoy life. We work hard, but we play harder! Branch helps out with the balance by hosting yoga, meditation, sports leagues, happy hours, team offsites, and lunches.
Feature flagging and toggle management for continuous delivery
Oakland, CA / London, UK
Patrick was our very first hire. He was an engineer who had toddler and another kid on the way. His only criteria in joining the company was that he have time to spend with his family. He was interviewing around at other companies while we were still fundraising, and eventually had multiple offers on the table, but ended up joining LaunchDarkly based on his request. Ever since, we’ve really valued balance and thank him for helping us establishing great parental leave policies so early on.
We support a tremendous amount of flexibility. Some people arrive at 8:30am and leave at 4:30pm, but most people get in between 9-10am and leave between 5-6pm. It is very rare to see anyone at the office after 6pm. There are some folks who will work a little later or longer, but there are no external pressures to work overtime.
13 Open Positions
The majority of our team members (~65%) are remote. We all try to be online at the same time for a few hours each day. This ends up being in the morning for our San Francisco engineers and in the evening for our European engineers (they end up having later dinners, but that works out given how late Europeans tend to eat!).
For the most part, our backend team is based in San Francisco and our frontend engineers are remote, living and working in Europe and South America. At our headquarters in SF, we have lots of fun activities and always make time to eat lunch together. Our lunches are catered Monday through Thursday, and on Friday, we go out together in SOMA.
We’ve prioritized work/life balance since the beginning, likely because we’ve always had parents on our leadership team. Regardless of where you’re based, we all stick to 40-hour work weeks, and never work weekends unless there is a fire to put out. In order to get to know one another better, we also have an annual treat where we fly everyone in the company to somewhere fun (Cancun in 2017, Lisbon in 2018, and Mayakoba in 2019!). It’s an amazing time to get to know one another and the best way to reorient around our company mission of empowering people to build software visually, together.
Many of our engineers work remotely or semi-remote in order to take care of family, or just to focus without typical office distractions. We have a flexible vacation policy with no fixed number of days, and typical office hours for folks is 10am to 6pm. We also do team outings and lunches every month or so. Our most recent was an Escape-the-Room that combined our eng and data teams!
It would be very easy to pour everything into making the company and our clients successful. To fight against this, we’ve developed policies to ensure that we all achieve personal and professional balance.
Most employees work something like 9am to 6pm in their local timezone. Sometimes we’ll work at night during an emergency, but that’s truly rare. There’s no “crunch time”, you won’t be answering messages on your phone all night or on the weekends, despite us being scattered in different timezones. Everyone on the team believes in the mission and is self-motivated. You won’t burn out.
We believe that clearly defined goals combined with awesome people, true empowerment, and nearly total autonomy create the best results. We support flexible hours, occasional remote work, and encourage folks to work from home in a way that best works for them. We embrace that everyone has their own, unique working style which is why we have a "how to work with me guide" folder. New hires read through the folder when they join, and also outline their personal working style. To respect each team member’s time, we avoid unnecessary meetings and ensure that any meeting we do hold is run by a meeting owner with a clear agenda.
We have a rotating "ranger on duty" who is responsible for responding to pieces of feedback left in the feedback channel during normal hours, and deliberately do not use a pager system so people don’t receive alerts outside of work or on weekends. Many of our engineers have children and families, and everyone at Hipcamp appreciates spending time outdoors. (We also have a number of musicians on the team as well!)
Creating software is an art, and just putting in hours for the sake of putting in hours doesn’t guarantee results. Typically, developers show up to work between 9-10am and leave between 5-6pm, but everyone is different. We don’t believe in taking time away from friends and families and discourage working evenings and weekends. We have remote developers and encourage staff to work from home at least once a week. The Technology management team takes vacation, works from home, and comes in to the office at various hours too.
To most staff, G Adventures is a family. Many choose to hang out after work hours (though this definitely isn’t a requirement) through game nights, joining a company sports team, or just heading to the pub for drinks.
We want everyone at BackerKit to do their best work, and leave it at the door at the end of the day. We discourage long hours, working on weekends, and doing “make-up” time. We try to be in the office from 9am to 5pm each week day, and are flexible with weekly work-from-home days.
Have you ever worried about leaving the office before your boss does? If so, don’t worry. We leave too. We want you to attend to your many hobbies and interests, and spend time with your friends and family. (To be honest, we’ll probably kick you out of the office at 5:30pm.)
We also offer uncapped vacation time for all of our employees, and encourage folks to take a minimum of 2 weeks off per year.
1 Open Positions
We want you to enjoy all aspects of your life at ReadMe, not just your work. Sean, who is based in Seattle, loves riding his motorcycle and going on hikes. Kanad lives in Minnesota, cycles (when the weather permits), and often goes to local concerts. In San Francisco, Marc likes standup comedy and has plenty of time to play with his cats (Toothless and Tesla, who of who have their own emojis on our Slack channel). On weekends, Dom is an amateur sourdough baker and an even more amateur guitar player.
Our friends, families, health, and hobbies are important to us, too! You don’t need an excuse to work from home and we genuinely encourage everyone to take advantage of their $150/month gym membership stipend.
Last but not least, we also go on quarterly offsites to make sure we mix play and work together as a team. In the past, we’ve gone to Hawaii, Chicago and Lake Tahoe. We have a tradition of getting custom prints for each location we go to and having everyone who was there sign them.
We are part of a multi-decade plan to change the way we travel through our cities. Unless there’s an operational emergency, working a few extra hours this weekend isn’t worth it. This is a marathon, not a sprint.
We have generous, long term benefits like 401K contributions, continuing education stipends, and parental leave.
We generally work 9:30 to 5:30. Go home when your pair goes home, and stay well rested and healthy.
LoyLap is important, but our employees’ health and well being is far more important. There are times when you’ll just need a break to recharge and overcome your writer/programmer’s block. To us, part of having work/life balance means being able to say “no” to the company. We hope you’ll tell us when you need a break and then come back when you’re mentally refreshed and ready to go.
We’re also flexible in terms of when you work. On a typical work day at LoyLap, you might show up between 9am and 11am, work for a few hours, have lunch around 1pm (or eat lunch at 3pm if you’d like, no problem!), and then see out the remaining hours of the day. We encourage our employees to schedule their days to better pursue their personal interests beyond office hours. When you work matters less to us than working well.
Dublin has some great pubs to explore, so we make it a practice to go for a few beers on Fridays together. It’s a great way for us to wind down for the weekend and also lets us get to know each other personally.
1 Open Positions
One of the biggest mistakes companies make is enforcing a one-size-fits-all work schedule on all of their employees. We at Range recognize that some people prefer working 9-5 days while others want the flexibility to leave midday to do yoga or go shopping as they work better late at night. Whatever your work preference is, we support it. We’ve also dedicated Wednesday as a flex day so that people can work from anywhere one day each week. (And yes, some people still come into the office that day.)
Creativity and innovation require high-levels of cognitive functioning, neither of which are possible when you are stressed, tired, or over-worked. Working habits often emanate from the company’s founders or leaders, which is why we’re lucky that our CEO, Dan, sets a good example. Dan has a 3.5-year-old daughter who he takes to school every morning at 8:30 and comes home to by 6pm, 3 days a week. He and his wife both have one “work late night” each a week, and one “date night” where they have a babysitter. This is the type of balance that he has achieved, and he encourages others to structure things in whatever way works best for them.
Finally, Dan shares his thoughts around work/life balance:
“I’ve never wanted a job. I want a purpose and a craft. This doesn’t have to be a grand-narrative of world change, but I do want my work to have meaning; to know I’m having a positive impact on the lives of the people I work with and the people who use the products I build.
This tends to mean that my work bleeds into my personal life. I listen to management books while running, help my reports work through problems late at night, and sometimes code on the weekend while my daughter is at dance class.
But to make this work, my personal life also needs to bleed into my work life. I exercise during the day, attend events at my daughter’s school, and push back on evening meetings that’d get in the way of her bedtime.
Balance for me isn’t separating the two, it’s letting them integrate, and I think this type of balance can be more stable. Other people will have different perspectives on what balance means to them, and we should support those too.”
1 Open Positions
Some folks might be on-call on the weekends for production emergencies, but we keep that responsibility to a minimum and on a voluntary basis.
We shut the office down entirely at the end of year over the holidays for 1 week. We also have generous leave policies including extended paid paternity leave. We don’t just pay lip service to this, either – you’ll find that our leaders right across the organization set an example by practicing what they preach. People occasionally work from home, but we are predominantly office-based. We do have a few remote folks who work well in that mode, but it would be the norm for engineering to be on-site in one of our offices.
We have a wide variety of what we call Intercommunities, in which like-minded teammates can gather and practice their shared interests. For instance, some folks play gigs in the Interband, while Inter-Hike organizes regular walks in the countryside, and Inter-Dip sees colleagues go for early morning sea swims. A lot of us will bring our kids along to all of these things. Teammates take part in sports together, too. We have weekly soccer games and a large number of marathon runners on the team, who you’ll often see out and about on the streets of Dublin, London, and San Francisco.
In the office, some folks organize board game evenings, while the pool table in the office bar in Dublin always has a game going.
Enable immigrants to use their data to land on their feet
San Francisco, New York, or Remote (North America only)
We recognize that everyone has a different life outside of work, and that life can change. We have three remote engineers and are opening an office in New York soon, so we strive to honor flexibility for different time zones, working styles, and individual commitments.
Employees are free to step out for appointments when needed, and it’s common for folks to take breaks during the day or opt to WFH. For instance, sometimes Loek, KSuh, and JT go running to Alcatraz in the middle of the work day. Parents like Stache often WFH to care for their babies, and it’s perfectly fine if you want to take Pokemon Go raid breaks throughout the day with Jaime.
In the spirit of being an international company, Nova encourages employees to take vacation with our Nova anniversary gift. On your Nova anniversary, you get a roundtrip ticket to anywhere in the world! People have used their anniversary flights to visit the Maldives, Thailand, and Greece, just to name a few destinations.
In terms of personal development, Nova has access to an extensive network that individuals can tap into, including Y-Combinator and First Round. You can leverage and learn from our network by having matcha 1:1s with peers and mentors, or joining community events, where we've met many new friends, accelerated our professional growth, and discussed hot topics.
New and expecting parents can expect to receive 12 weeks of paid parental leave. You can see a full list of our benefits here.
Many tech startups embrace a culture of constant grind, always-on hustle, and crushing all-nighters. Gem is not one of them. Our founders are both technical, and our engineers average 5+ years of experience from companies like Facebook, Dropbox, and Uber. All of us understand that “working smart” is infinitely better than just working hard. We believe in getting things done, but in a way that optimizes for the long game.
Our team members are our single most valuable resource, so we consciously prioritize work/life balance through policies like:
So far we’ve seen great results: in our last employee engagement survey, 100% of our engineering team agreed that they have a good work-life balance.
We’re building an incredible team at Gem, and we care deeply about our people. Our work is important to us, but it’s not the only thing. Having the time and space to dedicate to personal relationships, hobbies, fitness, and personal development makes us happier, healthier, and better.
It's a place that values growth and learning, puts high value on empowering employees, and we know it's healthy to have a life outside of work. While we are a startup and sometimes have to rally to hit a deadline, we strive to plan projects in a way that supports healthy work-life balance.
We offer a mandatory 2-week, contiguous vacation with an unlimited vacation policy, and we trust everyone to properly coordinate around busy (and less busy) times. The mandatory 2 weeks is designed to both encourage people to truly unplug, and ensure there is no single point of failure operationally in the company. We also offer (and have exercised) a caretaker / parental leave policy of up to 16 weeks for those expecting or needing to take care of ill family members or newborns.
Lastly, we allow everyone to work from home when they need to. You don’t need to get pre-approval or talk to your manager unless you plan to work from outside of the office for more than a few days in a row, or need to coordinate working from a different timezone. We trust that you know how to work productively from wherever. We currently have four fully remote engineers (in Boston, New York, and San Diego) and are open to bringing on other all-remote team members.
Steven, our founder, comes in early and is always the first person to leave. He doesn’t stay around the office ot make sure people are doing their work, and as a result, GoodNotes has developed a culture where no one is competing to “stay the longest.” You should also know that GoodNotes is a bootstrapped and self-funded company (we have never taken any outside funding).
Since we don’t have a board or the external pressures people often associate with working at a startup, we don’t need to work overtime or come in on weekends. We care more about being perfect than we do fast and always plan our sprints and initiatives in line with reasonable and achievable goals. Balancing work and life is really important to us, which is why we have also made Thursdays and Fridays optional work-from-home days.
Chris’ general rule is that, outside of normal working hours, he doesn’t work when his kids are awake. That might mean doing some work at home after the kids’ bedtime, but what it really means is that you work hard at work and then you’re 100% present everywhere else. We ourselves never want to spend weeknights or weekends at the office, and we certainly don’t want anyone on our team to either. We’ll be with our friends and family, and you should be too.
That’s why we are committed to maintaining a 9 to 5 workday. Our core hours create an efficient and reliable atmosphere for our teams. Most importantly, our hours create team-presence and alignment and drastically limit the amount of overtime and weekend work. We rarely have employees work past 6pm.
We also have lots of fun amongst ourselves. Weekly pizza socials, ping pong, pool & darts, video games, quarterly “disconnect” activities (including an annual canoe trip), the aforementioned “house” system competitions, movie nights, an AD&D group, hackathons, meetups—the list goes on.
If there’s one thing that’s very clear at Lever, it’s that we do not have a hero culture.
In terms of daily schedules, you’ll find that it varies depending on each person’s preference. Some people get in really early, some get in later, not everyone stays until 5pm or 6pm because they have families to get home to. To accommodate the various lifestyles and needs of our team members, we never schedule important meetings early in the morning or too late in the afternoon. We also have work-from-home Wednesdays.
For the most part, people work somewhere within the 9am to 6pm range, but we keep it flexible. To encourage folks to go home, we never serve dinners at the office. There are no pull requests after 7pm and we always do daytime deploys. This wasn’t always the case, but we made it a team policy a couple of years ago in order to be inclusive of everyone’s schedule. Once your work day is done, it’s really done!
When it comes to our on-call shifts, we always make sure there is a secondary person so that no one person is on an island. We have mandatory trainings about being on-call, and part of that is stressing the importance of sleep and taking care of yourself. As another example of how team oriented we are, we all pay attention to alerts and recognize if someone has had to carry undue burden. When that happens, the team invests on correcting issues together and we the encourage that person on taking some extra time for themselves afterwards.
Angaza offers unlimited PTO (most people take around four weeks a year), paid parental leave (six weeks for all new parents and an additional six weeks for mothers giving birth), and while we’ve built our culture around in-office presence, we offer flexibility around occasionally working from home or remotely.
Our Engineering Constitution stipulates that the engineering team gets together for an out-of-office activity once a month. We’ve played arcade games together and conquered escape rooms, as well as more informal outings to picnics or a group frisbee session. As a broader team, we value personal connection. We eat lunch together daily and hold regular team board game or movie nights. Within the company, you’ll often hear Angazans talking about “embracing their inner tembo”: this one of our five core company values. Tembo is the Swahili word for elephant, and we take the mentality of being a part of the herd and supporting the other members of the herd seriously.
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Some of us have learned this the hard way, but we all know that the quality of your work suffers when you work too much. In fact, if you don’t strike the right balance between friends, families, health, and work, everything suffers. Some of us have worked at companies in the past where work/life balance was poor, so we’re especially committed to building an environment that respects everyone’s time and well being. We will never pressure you to spend nights and weekends working, and we will always encourage you to take care of yourself.
We all need to recharge to be able to do our best work and show up with the right energy for our team. Our company has an "unlimited PTO" policy (within reason of course). Our CFO is even pro-vacation and has recommended everyone should take about a week off every quarter.
Nico’s family is from Manila so he takes a couple months out of the year to work out there. The time change is brutal, but we have learned to adapt to this and organize ourselves accordingly. If your family isn’t overseas but you do like working from home, we have Tuesday’s and Thursday’s as remote days! Regular hours are Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., but we are always open to accommodating you if your situation calls for a different schedule. We have a group of employees that run together during lunch break every other day. We believe staying healthy and energized creates a more productive workplace.
We have a high degree of trust in one another and each person’s capabilities. So as long as you get your work done, or communicate why you are blocked and ask for help, we don’t care how or where you do your work. We work intensely and effectively during normal working weekday hours, and then leave work to recharge on our own time. Having a balanced life outside of work only benefits the company because we believe this contributes to happy, healthy, productive people and therefore, more productive teams.
People are not expected to work weekends unless there is an emergency, hours are flexible able to accommodate child care needs and we are all free to choose where we work from. That said, we try to keep as many hours overlapping with the team as possible in order to facilitate real-time collaboration.
Outside of work, people love being in the great outdoors, traveling to places near and far, eating delicious food, spending time with family, playing music and playing sports. We love staying active, snowboarding, playing badminton, cycling, surfing, and hiking. Not only do we love food, but some of us also really enjoy cooking it! We have supportive and growing families who motivate us and help us to be our best selves. They play an important role in making us successful as a company and as a team.
Whatever helps you recharge, we want you to have the time and space to do it. It is truly the best way to drive creativity, collaboration, and productivity in your work!
1 Open Positions
In terms of the actual work hours, we want our teams to include 10am-4pm in their working hours—we’re flexible and accommodating to those who like to shift earlier or later around that, but we have a group of engineers who work out of Lima, Peru and we like to have maximum overlap with their hours. Work on weekends is very minimal, and it doesn’t happen more than a few times per quarter.
We don’t encourage working from home because we find a lot of productivity happens when we’re in-person. Teammates can choose whether they’d like to work out of our Mountain View or San Francisco office (some even work out of both depending on the day). That said, we’re supportive of ad-hoc work from home as needed! In the office, we also incorporate activities for balance.
We also have a monthly engineering all-hands meeting and a monthly engineering mixer (see photo below). At these events, we acknowledge and celebrate our teammates’ accomplishments and get to know them outside of work.
We have a diverse group of interesting people! Some of our teammates are musicians, who have played gigs that other members of our team have attended to support them. Others surf, and some go to events like ComicCon or Burning Man. We don’t expect our team to socialize outside of work, but we think it says something about our team dynamic that many of our teammates want to anyway. Many of our engineers also enjoy eating lunch together, so it’s great that our offices are both located near so many delicious restaurants!
Building a company is a marathon not a sprint. We do work hard and sometimes need to go the extra mile, but we deliberately take time off when we need it. We put people first and our high retention rate is a direct result of this. While we have expectations (tickets, timelines, deliverables), we don’t care about when and where you do your work. What we care about is that the work gets done and done well. We realize that "busy" doesn't guarantee productivity and "present" doesn't guarantee engagement.
If you need to take the afternoon off to pick up your child from daycare or run personal errands, and continue your work from home at 8pm, great. If you need to work from home because you have a really hairy technical issue to resolve, no problem. If you need to travel back home and want to work remotely for a few days, do it. As long as the work gets done.
One of our engineers, Marie Cuddy, made this statement on our blog: “There is a great level of trust within the team, as long as your work is getting done there are never any issues with having to balance your personal life. Plastiq also has amazing benefits and is ahead of many much larger companies in terms of vacation and maternity/paternity leave.”
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At Meraki, one of our core values is Caring Deeply, which extends to each and every employee. We strive to provide a positive, inclusive, and flexible work environment that allows you to be your best self both in and out of the office. Our engineers come from diverse backgrounds and are at different stages of life, so we do our best to fully support them throughout all of life’s twists and turns. We encourage one another to take time off when needed, work remotely, and make time for after-work activities.
By having Cisco as our parent company, we are better resourced to offer the best benefits to our employees including health, family planning, and educational benefits. We also offer fitness perks and commuter benefits. In addition, we offer ample Paid Time Off (PTO) - 20 days per year, plus 10 paid holidays, 1 floating holiday, and a day off for your birthday. We have a flexible Emergency Time Off (ETO) policy, too, for when life provides the unexpected. When you join Meraki, you’re joining a supportive community which understands that challenges come up in life and will partner with you to ensure the best outcome for your situation. Meraki HQ also offers free, delicious catered meals daily and a variety of healthy (and fun) snacks.
Finally, we also support a number of Employee Resource Organizations (EROs) such as Queers And Friends at Meraki (QFAM), Women of Meraki, Parents of Meraki, Connected Asian Affinity Network, Meraki Gives, and Mosaic. Everyone at Meraki has the opportunity to be part of a community that spans beyond their immediate team. We like having fun at the office, too! We regularly host a variety of activities and opportunities to meet and bond with your teammates and other Merakians. Happiness events (like sailing, woodworking, glassblowing, wine tours), team dinners, and offsites are built-in to our fabric, allowing everyone to truly feel part of a supported system of colleagues.
Employees across Meraki attend a networking event with one of Meraki's EROs, Mosaic.
9 Open Positions
Taking a step back from the day-to-day life at CoinTracker, we believe in cherishing all aspects of life. Jon has a three-year old daughter and Chandan will be getting married soon. We will always have time to spend with our families and loved ones, and we want all of our employees to as well.
We believe happiness fuels creativity, productivity, and long-term sustainable thinking. We trust every person to manage their own time and take as much vacation as needed. Additionally, to encourage everyone to expand their horizons, we expense an unlimited number of books for every employee. If you want to learn more about the industrial revolution, rare species of fish, or just read a fantasy novel, we want you to, too! Fun fact: Alexey reads 300 books a year! This is a perk we provide all of our employees as a part of our collective growth mindset.
Day to day, we work in our office in downtown SF (not WFH). We have minimal process — one daily standup and regular 1:1s. Most of the day people have time and space to work independently and break out into organic discussions as needed. We cater lunch and eat together on a daily basis, while fiercely debating topics ranging from financial markets to ancient history.
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We want you to enjoy your life outside of work at Redbubble. Typical hours are 9-5 and while you’re here, we want you to be excited about the work you are doing. Once you’re out the door, we respect your personal time. Late nights are extremely rare, and working weekends are unheard of. We are also experimenting with teammates working remotely and from home, with team members driving the experimentation. We encourage you to look after yourself, physically and mentally, which is why we have a health and well-being rebate and mindfulness programs. A better and more balanced you is a happy you! What do we do for fun? Our team members boast an assortment of hobbies, including bicycling, cooking, singing and songwriting, city exploration, photography, jiu jitsu, field hockey, beagles, cats and lizards. What do you do for fun?
We know that in order for you to do your best work, you must take care of both yourself and those you care for first. We aim to holistically support our team’s care and well being, so they’re able to bring energy, focus and motivation to VSCO.
We believe it’s most important to have a high performing, motivated engineering team whose members do what they need to do and push us forward as a business. That means offering employees the flexibility to do their job as needed. We trust our team to determine what work schedule allows them to create the greatest impact. When you’re on call, you’re not alone - the team all pitches in to take care of and resolve challenges together to minimize any overtime.
We trust our employees to think like owners and be responsible with their time. We also have a flexible vacation policy that allows our team to take ample time to fully check out and have the time to rest and recharge in the ways that benefit them. When you’re not here, you’re fully disconnected. A soft-close occurs during the winter holidays and Summer Fridays allows extra weekend time from Memorial Day until Labor Day.
Engineers speak to the fact that when you’re here, you’re here. Fully present and bringing your best self to work. When you’re not here, you’re chasing your dreams and have the time to commit to outside interests and projects. Our monthly tech and wellness stipend provides employees with the opportunity to expense creative, wellness or tech-related pursuits. We’ve seen this used many ways - coaching, phone upgrades, educational classes, pottery classes, fitness memberships, museum memberships, and various others. Mental health and wellbeing are critical. We know wellness looks different for everyone and do our best to cater to these differences.
There’s a level of flexibility where people can come in later and work later, and occasionally work from home. All we ask is that folks communicate with their teams about their schedule so there are no surprises. We also strongly encourage people to take vacations and to utilize their three floating holidays.
We “join up” to learn about each team member’s short- and long-term goals (both personal and professional).
Each quarter the Partner Operations team “joins up,” meaning each employee shares what they value outside of work. This includes their short- and long-term goals. We share our learnings with the rest of the company so everyone can understand what motivates and inspires each person at PAX. Not only does this help us get to know one another, but it creates an environment that recognizes the importance of work/life balance. When you love what you do, it’s very easy to get burnt out, and we often have to remind one another to pull back during slower times (for example, when we aren’t pushing a big release).
The Hardware and Global Supply teams travel to China frequently. These teams take advantage of having more flexible hours and occasional work from home days surrounding their travel dates. Team members across PAX are cognizant of the need to recover after traveling to China, and we all acknowledge and express appreciation for those who travel there frequently.
When it comes to work/life balance, the onus shouldn’t be on the individual. Everyone at PAX needs to respect everyone else’s time. Given that we have teams in different time zones and countries, we are always considerate of other people’s schedules. We are focused on output rather than optics (it doesn’t matter how many hours you’re physically sitting in the office), and because we are all in this together, we never leave anything on just one person’s plate. We love working at PAX and we’re all in it for the long run.
14 Open Positions
We’re creating an environment at Samsara that couples passion with balance. We have flexible work hours that allow people to arrive and leave when it's best for them. Samsara is also proud to employ many parents. You can go home to eat dinner with your family or join the team for a company-sponsored nightly dinner and a game of Liar’s Dice. Everyone has their own schedule and we want to be accommodating. While we do have occasional sprints, we check in to make sure everyone is taking vacation. If you want to work remotely at the beginning or end of your vacation, you’ve got the green light.
Samsara is moving fast and hiring fast. If you’re interested in building sensors to be deployed around the world, apply here.
Everyone on the team is an owner of the business, and we trust everyone to make personal decisions about when to take time off. All full-time employees are also given eight hours of time-off to volunteer or participate in community service per quarter.
Gusties celebrate their first-year anniversary with a #FlyAway round-trip ticket and hotel stay to anywhere in the world. On their second-, third- and fourth-year anniversaries, Gusties receive a #ThrillorChill pass to spend on a thrilling (think skydiving) or relaxing experience (maybe a spa day?)
We’re also incredibly supportive of parents at Gusto. We offer family-friendly benefits like inclusive fertility treatments, parental leave, and free sleep coaching, house-cleaning, food-catering or delivery, and more!
21 Open Positions
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