In a digitally connected culture of over-achievement, creating headspace to explore what makes you happy just seems to get harder.
The OEDC Better Life Index ranks the Netherlands as the top country for mixing work, family commitments and personal life. We zoom in from nationwide to company-wide, talking to Emark’s Rosalie van Langen about making great work-life balance a source of cultural pride beyond the Netherlands. How can things like flexibility, openness, trust, and mindfulness play out to become the best work perks you can get?
Often our ‘dream job’ doesn’t work out the way we thought it would. You may have to weigh up whether to forego professional growth for personal fulfilment – losing time with your loved ones, or losing your grip on parts of yourself even, to keep your foothold on professional success. For Rosalie and the team here, this approach is unsustainable and it makes little sense:
‘You can have a private life, be a part-timer, and get a promotion here. We understand that performance isn’t based on volume but on quality, and working 60 or 70 hours per week is not a prerequisite. Instead, we trust people to manage their own time and understand themselves and how they work best – everyone’s life is different: with flexible working hours, if you want to take the morning off to unwind, or spend time with family, that’s great.’
Teambuilding outings, parties, abundant lunches, Yoga Mondays, Running Thursdays, are all company perks which encourage several degrees of separation between the working day and downtime. But Rosalie explains that those who decide to join Emark invariably say that their main reason for doing so, is their impression of the people and their behaviours towards one another when visiting the office for the first time.
‘It’s something you cultivate which goes above and beyond fun group activities: it’s the feeling that they are valued and can be themselves during the process. Those who work at Emark are always open books, self-starters, and curious about the world of marketing and tech – but they’re also parents, partners, world travellers, pet-owners, band members… this part makes life and workplaces more interesting.’
‘Talk about it. We’ll make it happen.’
Another cultural cornerstone of that Emark encourages for better work-life balance, is honesty:
‘Trust and transparency across teams about topics like how you progress in your job, mean that everyone is very clear on how you move to the next step in your development as a marketing technologist, or as a team manager. At Emark, you have open discussions with your manager about the steps you need to take to get to get qualified for the work you really love, whether that’s a leadership course, getting the basics in HTML or a new Salesforce certification; all the way through to learning a new language, and brushing up on your time management. ’
This, Rosalie sees, can be a big source of disappointment for professionals she speaks to seeking to switch jobs; those who are often burned by the broken promise of a particular growth trajectory, only for the goalposts to be moved again and again in favour of other priorities. This disillusionment leads to feelings of frustration, lack of fulfilment and a lack of clear direction.
‘It’s an important thing to see value and growth in yourself, to be balanced – and happy. To do this, we need to talk about it more. We want to consistently reflect on that not as a nice-to-have or a box-checking exercise, but as a part of our culture.’
That’s why at Emark, the month of October is dedicated to mindfulness.
Mindfulness Month at Emark means meditation, self-reflection exercises held by Victorine Jansen, and a focus on mental and physical health.
‘This is a time to reflect on all the things we’re doing right now, and to be more aware of what makes us happy as individuals – inside and outside of work.’
In the Dutch city of Haarlem, October kicks off with a two-hour session which helps employees consider why it’s valuable to reflect from time-to-time – weighing up or re-focusing on what’s really important.
Throughout the month, multiple activities like yoga and a 3-day juice detox help the company experience new perspectives, self-reflection practices, and pathways to a healthier mind and body.
The initiative closes with a recap discussion on 1st November, about how Mindfulness Month went, what everyone’s learnings were, and how employees can bring these learnings into their day-to-day for a more balanced life.
This is because a lively, feel-at-home workplace, and a company at the frontier of marketing and technology, are built by balanced people valued for who they are, as well as what they do.
Tired of annoying corporate hierarchy and broken career promises? Want to keep learning in the always growing space of integrated marketing technology, customer experience, and data-driven performance?