The pandemic has brought employee well-being, mental health and resilience to the top of companies’ agendas like never before. Based on survey results from this year, the top 3 employee concerns include mental health , work-life balance, and promotion / advancement.
“Employee well-being is no longer a benefit. It is a strategy that is directly tied to a business’ success.
- Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of Thrive Global
💡 Solutions: To help promote employee mental health, many companies have implemented wellness days as well as Zoom-free days. Some examples include:
2-4 days of companywide wellness days, in addition to the existing national holidays. Another approach is 1 designated day off each month. Example: “We designated one day each month for employees to unplug from traditional work and focus on wellbeing. We found we were not only more productive as a company, but it helped to mitigate burnout amongst employees. We’ve since turned this into an indefinite part of our wellness program so we can continue to foster an environment where mental health is prioritized.” — David Hanrahan, CHRO at Eventbrite.
Companywide shutdowns ranging from 1-2 days before/after national holiday up to a full week. Over the past, companies including Nike, LinkedIn, Bumble, and Intuit have introduced weeklong companywide shutdowns so employees can fully disconnect.
Thrive Global’s AI-powered behavior change platform takes a holistic approach and actives culture change within an organization in the following ways:
The Thrive App - Behavior change coach with features to help employees move from awareness to action across 6 Journeys (Recharge, Food, Move, Money, Focus and Connect): science-backed Micro-steps, 60-second Resets to reduce stress, inspiring role model stories, and more.
Micro Learning Programs - Our holistic suite of interactive programs combines cutting-edge science with storytelling to inspire action and create a thriving culture.
Live Experiences - Live webinars and Leadership Journeys spark adoption and engagement, amplifying employee stories and igniting change across teams. We meet users where they are, integrating directly into your enterprise workflow.
Custom Insights & Analytics - Assessments measure pre- and post-Thrive impact, providing a first-of-its-kind view into employee resilience, well-being, and burnout.
Modern Health is the comprehensive mental health and wellness platform that combines the WHO well-being assessment, evidence-led digital wellness kits, community group Circles, a global network of certified coaches, and licensed therapists available in 50 countries and 40 languages all in a single app. Modern Health empowers employers to lead the charge in acknowledging that mental health is just as important as physical health, de-stigmatizing the conversation, and increasing accessibility of mental health services for all.
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⬇️ Click on PDF below for full case study
Modern Health Zendesk Case Study .pdf
Workplace Model 📲
As many of us approach the 18-month mark of being 100% remote, some companies continue to experience challenges with scaling remote culture, and are seeing high rates of burnout. The decline in employees’ mental health has also been shown to be linked to the macro environment. We are seeing a range of workplace models: some companies started as fully distributed and are scaling as 100% remote, others are shifting to a hybrid model with the option of employees going into the office a few days a week, and a few companies have remained fully in-office during this pandemic. Across the board, regardless of the workplace model, we are seeing our companies invest in employee wellness, communication tools, and L&D, especially around manager training.
Majority of our companies (82%) have one of the following 3 models:
40% will have a remote friendly hybrid model where most roles have the flexibility to be remote + optional WFH day(s) for employees working at an office.
23% will have a virtual first model where employees are working remotely most of the time but will occasionally go into an office/hub for in-person collaboration and team-building.
was founded in 2020 during COVID. They originally had HQ in San Francisco and transitioned their 50 person team to be a virtual first company. The sales team is based out of San Francisco and Denver, and meet at local co-working spaces a few days a month.
18% will have an office centric hybrid model, where the majority of roles will be located at one of the offices, with a few select roles being eligible for remote + optional WFH days (1-2 days). We have heard that 2 flex/WFH days is optimal by employees and the leaders at mid through late stage and public companies.
A small but growing percentage of our companies have transitioned to all-remote (100% remote) work model. In an all-remote company, there is no single headquarters, and employees, including executives, work from anywhere (in some cases limited to within the US only).
Workplace Structure (Company Size)
Engaging Distributed Teams 👨🏽💻
At the beginning of this year, close to 65% of our companies have reported difficulty in maintaining and developing culture during this remote environment. Zoom fatigue was cited as the #1 reason. Our companies saw an increase in the amount of time spent on Zoom meetings this year as compared to the second half of 2020.
Combating Zoom Fatigue 💪
Zoom Free days:
Companywide - the first Friday of each month.
Function specific (ex. engineering) - 1 day a week.
1 day per week for certain teams (ex: engineering) to not have interviews or meetings.
Focus Time ✏️
Company meeting hours for broader meetings that work across multiple time-zones.
- Search across all your company's apps to find exactly what you need, and discover the knowledge and people that can make it easier to get things done. The ability to know what your company knows helps new employees in a remote-first world get up to speed faster, and make connections with the right people as they onboard.
Internal Communication and Company-wide Events 📬
During this period of uncertainty and constant change, the resounding advice we hear about effective internal communication is to focus on company values and communicate frequently.
OKRs: During this current environment where many employees are working remotely, we have seen a trend with smaller companies <100 employees shorten their OKR cycle from quarterly to every 6-10 weeks. 43% of companies <100 employees do not have formalized OKRs in place. For those that responded “no change”, the majority of companies are setting OKRs on a quarterly basis.
All-Hands/Townhalls: The most common cadence for company-wide meetings during this remote environment is either weekly or bi-monthly. Tips for a productive all-hands: learning about team members; personal updates; show and tell; breakout sessions after the company + team updates.
Group learning & discussions: Mix of employee-led and outside speakers that can be tailored for personal or career growth, current events, and other topics of interest.
Office hours / AMAs: Providing more accessibility to the CEO and leadership team.
Company offsites: Most common cadence is either bi-annual or quarterly. Some offsite suggestions that can be done virtually are cooking classes, magic shows, and wine tastings.
Daily team stand-ups: 5 minute check-in at the beginning of the day to sync with team.
Community: Assigning department representatives who are responsible for fostering community within their teams.
Replicating hallway conversations:
35% of survey respondents struggle with creating a virtual version of hallway conversations.
Dedicated water cooler Zoom room open all day / Slack channel.
Bi-monthly informal meetings with colleagues to “catch up on life”.
Develop more social slack channels to foster community across teams.
Prior to Day 1
Don't have their first session be IT! Provide access to email/calendar ahead of their first day.
Provide clear guidelines to WFH and equipment budget.
Send company Wiki with a breakdown of the team and an on-boarding guide.
Send flowers or swag box to their family after accepting offer.
Day 1 (Sample):
Overview of company (mission, vision, values, history), product roadmap, and macro industry overview (ideally given by founders or exec team).
1:1 meeting with HR (set up payroll, go over perks and benefits) and IT (companywide software / security training for devices/data).
Team/Manager: best practices with internal communication; documentations.
Welcome videos and how-to demos.
Assigned a buddy / onboarding mentor (try to pair with an employee in the same timezone).
Within the first week, sit down with employee and have a conversation around work style and schedule preferences / protected time (children drop-off/pickup, etc).
1-2 week focused on meeting leaders and employees from all departments.
“Fresh eye report” - assignment at the end of week #1 which include key learnings, takeaways as well opportunities.
Provide new hire with a clearly outlined 30-60-90 day plan.
For larger companies with multiple offices, new hire might spend a few weeks at HQ before going back to their local office.
Record customer interviews to help new hire understand product.
- auto generated groupings meet on a monthly basis.
Remote Work 💻
Eligibility around Remote Employees
It is not a one size fits all when it comes to your company’s position on remote work. It will depend on many factors including: your industry, company culture, infrastructure, employee feedback, and clients. On average, our companies are planning for ~35% of their employees to be fully-remote. This does not include companies that are 100% in-office or 100% remote/WFA. For companies that have a maximum around their total number of remote employees, they generally fall under two categories:
<100 employees: up to 25%
>100 employees: up to 50%
We have seen a number of companies across all stages implement criteria around remote work. They include:
Level (ie: IC4+ or Director+).
Tenure (ie: must have been at the company for X amount of time).
Performance (ie: meets or exceeds expectations).
Function / team specific. Functions that are not eligible to be 100% remote include: Administration, Clinical, Facilities/Workplace Service, IT Facilities, Manufacturing, Office Manager, Test Engineer and Warehouse/Delivery.
that leverages the power of celebrities at scale. Use cases include: virtual events, marketing content, sales & prospecting, recruiting & employee recognition.
Context: Our approach to WFA - highly connected and fully distributed
We know that our employees - and candidates - want to maintain the flexibility and inclusivity they have found in working from home. WFA will be our competitive advantage: to access talent via geographical distribution and to increase productivity via async work and in-person connections.
Since we went WFA, 62% of new hires & 61% of our Execs & VPs live “remotely” (outside of our two former hubs, Chicago & LA).
82% of Cameo employees prefer WFA. It has removed proximity bias from how we work, leveling the playing field and creating a more inclusive environment.
⬇️ Click on PDF below for full case study
Cameo Case Studies (Weekly All Hands, Archetypes, Gatherings).pdf
allows businesses to manage all of their HR & IT — payroll, benefits, computers, apps, etc. in one platform. This is good for companies between 2-2000+ employees. Features include:
Manage HR and IT in one place. Launched LMS tool this year which allows companies to stay compliant, provide timely training program, and create more automation. With remote work, each state has a set of compliance needs and companies can now automatically assign training to their employee, track their progress, and send automated reminders.
Onboard / offboard employees in 90 seconds, end-to-end.
Pay and insure employees across the world (i.e. HQ in SF onboarding employee in India).
Loom is video messaging for work. Combining the expressiveness of video with the convenience of messaging, Loom allows individuals and teams to express their thoughts and ideas and get information across to the entire organization — wherever and whenever work happens. Using Loom internally has allowed us to:
Reduce meetings and create more space for deep work.
Increase employee engagement with more authentic (and fun!) communication.
Create visibility for all employees across different time zones and locations.
Loom’s Hybrid Work Survey
“We cannot improve what we can’t measure so we developed a new hybrid survey that gets to the key questions of how we work together: fostering flexibility, social connection, engagement, and work-rest balance.”
Some initiatives that came out of Loom’s survey results:
Making the workday sustainable: Loom prompt employees to use video for any one-way communication and reserve synchronous time for lively discussion and social connection. They also set boundaries and expectations for the workday, including having a maximum of four hours of synchronous time a day to make room for deep work. They are also experimenting with Loom-first weeks to reduce the number of meetings on their calendars.
Building culture virtually: They don’t just use Loom for work — they use it to celebrate their wins and create authentic bonds in a remote environment. Their workspaces are buzzing with fun, creative looms, whether it's because they’ve shipped a new feature or to share what they’ve done over the weekend.
If you’d like to run your own version, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org who would be happy to share the questions and methodology.
 Within mental health, the categories are: employee burnout, stress, etc.