Work-life integration is the new work-life balance. The pandemic-era work-from-home culture has created a shift toward a business day that provides the latitude employees need to schedule time to tend to family, pets and wellness while simultaneously supporting the needs of the organization. Think treadmill desks and weekly take-your-child to work days. The digital age supports this new ideal with apps, software and devices that allow one to work from anywhere, anytime. These five business leaders believe that work and life can coexist productively for optimal happiness, fulfillment and success.

 Baby and children wear joyful socks
Located in Philadelphia, Pals Socks from Hooray Hoopla promotes the idea that work can be done from anywhere one feels most productive. — Hooray Hoopla

Hannah Lavon, founder & CEO, Hooray Hoopla, LLC

Who We Are: Here in Philadelphia, we make perfectly mismatched socks, which create easy teachable moments for kids about how it's fun to have a friend who is not just like you.

Pre-COVID, we were operating out of our warehouse and office, and I was able to easily go in every day. As founder and CEO, it can be hard to totally shut off work when out of the office; however, we had our first baby during the pandemic, so the work-life balance instantly shifted. It was convenient to have a good reason to stay home and help out with child care without FOMO since there was nothing going on. It was also very hard to get quiet time for meetings and adjust to having less time for work or sleep because of a new baby. Taking business meetings while out on stroller walks has become common. My team has become very understanding about piercing screams and melt-downs, like giving me the space to jump off a call to deal in whatever way necessary.

Office-wise, our small team was struggling while working from home every day. We had to learn to communicate better and more precisely on Slack and create productive home office environments. As everything starts to open back up and vaccinations are here, we are more flexible with working from home versus coming in, and being in-person is no longer viewed as necessary. In fact, one of our employees informed us she is traveling the U.S. over this year and wants to work remotely during that time. We are going to test it out. Happy employees are best for a challenging time and I intend to explore every avenue to make it work. Follow Hooray Hoopla on Instagram.

 Men and women smile in a workplace lounge
An ongoing option to work from home provides the enCappture team with highly valued flexibility, including more time for family. — En cappture

Denise DiSano, president and CEO, enCappture

Who We Are: enCappture is an NYC-based custom mobile app builder that provides affordable apps for small and medium-sized businesses.

Pre-COVID, our team spent a lot of time together in our New York City office collaborating on projects and meeting with clients. As an entrepreneur and mom of three, I’m very sensitive to the struggle of working two full-time jobs and thus have always emphasized a work-life balance with my team, which is composed mostly of women. Since we began working remotely in March of 2020, I often found it difficult to maintain team spirit, foster collaboration, keep Zoom fatigue at a minimum and make sure that our clients felt connected. I tried very hard to apportion meetings throughout the day and the week so that the team had work time and downtime. To break things up, we held a few COVID-compliant, socially distanced outdoor get-togethers at my home last summer, hosted Friday afternoon happy hours, and even threw ourselves a holiday party on our app.

Now that we’re slowly entering a post-COVID world, the team’s general consensus is that we’re very productive working from home, save hours of travel time and have more time for our children. When we do get together face-to-face, we find that our in-person time is even more valuable, so we’ve decided to continue working remotely for the short-term and make in-person meetings optional. I think that the pandemic has shown us there is a better way to work that supports women's roles in the workplace and at home. I hope companies truly support remote work going forward to give women greater freedom of choice. Follow enCappture on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram & LinkedIn.

 Smiling women participate in a virtual meeting
The Mom Project is committed to building a better workplace by harnessing the oft-overlooked intellectual workplace power of moms. — The Mom Project

Allison Robinson, founder & CEO, The Mom Project

Who We Are: Chicago's leader in helping businesses attract and retain female talent.

At The Mom Project we put our team first. By focusing on our team, core values, diversity, equality and inclusion, we are able to maintain a culture for the people, by the people, so everyone can feel included. We offer our team flexibility, generous benefits and unique perks that we know are important to them, including WFH stipends. We encourage and schedule daily work breaks called "sanity checks" on everyone's calendars, have wellness Wednesdays and promote no-meeting days or no-meeting half days. We know our team is working through challenging times and we are there to support them. Follow The Mom Project on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook & LinkedIn.

 Business staff take a group photo near a building and pool
TaxJar is a remote-first company, empowering its employees to work from wherever they are most productive, and enabling greater work-life harmony. — Tax Jar

Heather Wilson, CMP, head of employer brand, TaxJar

Who We Are: Boston, MA-based software company that simplifies sales tax management.

While a few years ago, not having an office may have been peculiar, offering employees the ability to work remotely is now seen as a business’s core strength. We are proud that TaxJar was founded on the strong belief of trusting our teammates to shape their work in a way that fosters work-life harmony, and we highlight this in our nine-part #RemoteLife docuseries. COVID has certainly changed the work dynamic as spouses and partners join the remote workforce, and for some, children learn from home. We recognize that every teammate has faced this crisis in the best way they can, and as a company we have chosen to lead with kindness and flexibility — for ourselves and our customers.

We know technology will continue to allow individuals to work more flexibly, yet many are actively choosing to take less time to switch off and recover from work. We have redesigned our holiday calendar to grant permission for time off at a regular cadence to allow for collective breath-catching, and to help us all build the power-down habits to support more meaningful and restorative PTO when we take it. As the world (and its workforce) moves toward remote work, the landscape for great talent will become more competitive. Organizations will look to market benchmarks for compensation structure, while candidates will become more selective as organizations work toward getting "remote right." TaxJar is proud to lead the way on all counts. Follow TaxJar on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.

 Men and women smile in group photo
Wendy Nickel, President of The Health Care Improvement Foundation believes that “the post-pandemic world will reflect a much more holistic and realistic way of working.” — Health Care Improvement Foundation

Wendy Nickel, president, Health Care Improvement Foundation

Who We Are: A nonprofit organization out of Philadelphia working collaboratively with healthcare and community-based stakeholders to achieve solutions to clinical and population health issues.

I have always been a strong believer in the importance of work-life integration. COVID has given us an opportunity to rethink corporate culture. We have been given a peek into people’s home lives and know that employees are balancing much more than children. We see construction workers coming into homes, packages being delivered, and sometimes the errant dog or cat visiting the home workplace. As we move to a post-pandemic world, I plan to give my team members much more flexibility to choose their work hours, whether that be 2-10 p.m., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. or the typical 9 a.m.-5 p.m. day. I also intend to allow more work to be done from home. I do believe in the spirit of team building and collaboration and will ask that team members come into the office to work together a couple of days a week, but will promote flexibility when it comes to the number of days they spend in the office. During COVID, we have had Zoom pet and children parades, where we invite team members to introduce their children and pets. It’s been a fun way to get to meet employees where they are and recognize that work isn’t the only priority in their lives. I would like to continue to promote this spirit post-pandemic by encouraging employees to bring children into the workplace on designated days. We also share “bright spots'' during our team huddles on Mondays, when employees share fun events and activities from the weekend.

Additionally, in this year of recognizing the unique strengths and challenges of different communities, I intend to promote the celebration of employees’ cultures. So instead of just celebrating the typical St. Patrick’s Day or Christmas, I would like to ensure that we recognize other holidays such as Eid and the Lunar New Year. These are just a few of the ways that we intend to recognize that individuals are not just their “work,” but also their cultures, families, interests and hobbies. Follow Health Care Improvement Foundation on LinkedIn & Twitter.

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Published April 30, 2021