3 Mar

Work-Life balance in tech: a shared responsibility beyond company leadership

Now, more than ever, everyone speaks about work life balance and its impact in the corporate world. But why now?
Tiago Vintém
min read

How work-life Balance in tech was different before pandemic

Before the pandemic hit everyone globally, the majority of companies in the world had an office-first approach. Few companies allowed (and accommodated) remote work - with the majority of them being in the IT sector.

The Virtual Forge has always recognised, since its genesis, the importance of maintaining a balance between remote work and in-office work. Right from its start, more than 10 years ago now, The Virtual Forge operated fully remote. As the company grew and the teams expanded, with larger projects and more complex inter-dynamics, it became apparent that the lack of physical interaction and collaboration hindered team relationships.

The investment made in physical spaces at that time enabled team members to establish meaningful relationships, perceiving aspects about their colleagues that may have been more challenging to discern in a remote setting. As a result, The Virtual Forge's culture flourished and bloomed while the company shifted from being remote-first to a hybrid approach. This change allowed The Virtual Forge to develop an outstanding company culture that persists today.

But then Covid happened and the world went remote (and crazy) almost overnight.

The great Work Life balance change

For the first time ever, the majority of the global IT workforce was working remotely. This was only possible due to the current state of the internet, technology, and all those buzzwords we have been hearing about since 2020. But what else happened?

Amidst the pandemic-induced lockdown, many employees and companies observed a positive shift in their work-life balance. A study conducted by Gallup in late 2021, showed that 71% of respondents found hybrid/remote work to improve their work-life balance.

When all lockdowns and restrictions were slowly lifted throughout 2021 and 2022, certain companies reverted to their pre-pandemic in-office operations. But everyone had changed and the majority of employees wanted at least the possibility of working on a hybrid model - combining both the benefits of working from home being on site.

Although the hybrid or remote model brings advantages, it also means that it gets harder to separate work from our personal lives. Who hasn’t had a peek at the work email at 9 pm? Who hasn’t replied to a message to make sure something could start early in the morning? Most of us have done it.

This is where the responsibility for work-life balance falls on everyone in the company, not just leadership. And by working towards it, we unlock some great benefits:

  • Fewer Health Problems;
  • Increase in Employee Engagement;
  • Reduce the risk of Burnouts;
  • Improved Mindfulness
Work Life Balance Employees

The Virtual Forge work life balance tactics

At The Virtual Forge, we encourage and support employees in their health and work life balance with these tactics:

  • Encouraging time away from work. With a combination of personal holidays, bank holidays, sick days, and more, we encourage each member of our team to take time away from work and recharge. For each individual this looks different. Some enjoy time with their families, some enjoy traveling, some celebrate major life moments, while others take time to check off their home to-do lists. Whatever a person chooses to use their time off for, we build strong teams to be able to step in while an individual is away and encourage everyone to fully unplug (that means no checking email or Slack messages!).
  • Celebrating the good stuff. Weekly wins, family additions, global holidays, birthdays, and so much more is celebrated at The Virtual Forge. We encourage teams to pause and celebrate the small wins throughout a project, but also reflect on the big accomplishments at the completion of a project. And if someone is comfortable sharing their personal life wins, we celebrate with them!
  • Supporting during difficult times. Although celebrating wins is always fun, there comes a time when someone faces a challenge. Whether that challenge is in their role or their personal life, we encourage our team to reach out for help and we offer support. From reevaluating workload, to supporting a team member through the loss of a loved one.
  • Healthy boundaries. As a hybrid global team, it can be challenging to fit in meetings throughout the day with different time zones, to connect with different cultures, and to not take work home with you. We encourage our team to set boundaries through tools like working hours inside of Google Calendar, away messages in Slack, automatic responses on their emails, and much more. No one is forced to attend social hours or speak in a meeting if they don’t feel comfortable. We encourage our team to set their own boundaries and to respect the boundaries of others.
  • Frequent Get-Togethers: Connection. That’s what drives a good environment among team members. Get-togethers are a common thing at The Virtual Forge, providing employees with the opportunity to connect and get to know each other outside of the usual professional environment. These get-togethers are more than just a chance to let loose and have fun - they're an investment in the team's success. By fostering a sense of community and camaraderie, employees are able to build trust and establish strong working relationships.

This is what we encourage and work towards every day at VF. And all of these are welcomed by our staff with a big smile.

If you are looking to do something similar in your company, just remember:

happy staff = productive staff.

Our Most Recent Blog Posts

Discover our latest thoughts, tendencies, and breakthroughs in the realm of software development and data.

Swipe to View More

Get In Touch

Have a project in mind? No need to be shy, drop us a note and tell us how we can help realise your vision.

Please fill out this field.
Please fill out this field.
Please fill out this field.
Please fill out this field.
Send Message

Thank you.

We've received your message and we'll get back to you as soon as possible.
Sorry, something went wrong while sending the form.
Please try again.