The pandemic has served as a catalyst for a paradigm shift in how we work. The needs of the workforce today compared to those of employees before the pandemic are simply different. At Stok, we deeply care for our team members. The experience of these past two years demonstrated that we could do more to support team members through challenges created and accelerated by the pandemic. We want to share how we’ve approached these challenges in ways that align with Stok’s culture and core values and allow team members to thrive.
WORK FROM WHEREVER
We believe that creating a radically better world for all starts with inspiration, which doesn’t always come from within office walls or during a typical 9-to-5. As companies continue to adjust to working through a pandemic, Stok has expanded on its flexible work schedules for our team members in alignment with our core value of autonomy. This year, we introduced a “Work from Wherever” policy that provides team members flexibility in where they work around the globe, regardless of time zone.
While we’ve reopened our offices for collaboration, team members have the opportunity to continue exploring and drawing inspiration from whatever corners of the world they’re drawn to while doing work that generates positive impact.
One of the first things we realized after the hurried shift to remote work during the pandemic is how difficult it can be to separate “work” from “home” when “working from home”. Conversations that would happen organically when team members were co-located became yet more video calls competing for precious calendar space. With meetings blending into each other, many found limited time for focused work on projects, not to mention necessary breaks throughout the workday.
Realizing the impact of meeting overload on Stok team members, we launched Quiet Fridays. Every second and fourth Friday of the month, we ask team members to avoid scheduling meetings or sending internal communications so everyone is able to use the day for heads-down work time, professional development, or time off—in alignment with our core value of autonomy, it’s whatever they need. Implemented as a “safe to try” experiment in 2020, Quiet Fridays received such positive feedback from our team members that we decided to adopt the practice as a mainstay at Stok.
The data shows that we’re not alone—a study conducted by Modern Health, a mental health provider, revealed that 68% of employers who offered mental health days and encouraged time off had happier teammates.
In a 2021 study conducted by Total Brain, 86% of employees said that they value a company culture that supports mental health needs. In addition to launching Quiet Fridays to support team member mental health, in 2020 Stok began a partnership with Modern Health, a corporate mental health provider and community platform. Through this partnership, Stok team members have access to 14 coaching and 14 therapy sessions, as well as coach- and therapist-led community trainings, workshops, and support groups centered around personal, professional, financial, or lifestyle goals.
Providing a service like Modern Health helps us create a culture that destigmatizes mental health and focuses on helping our team members discover solutions that encourage a healthier, happier, and more balanced life.
INCLUSION, DIVERSITY, EQUITY, AND ACCOUNTABILITY (IDEA)
Stok was founded with equity at our core, but the last two years made us realize that our good intentions weren’t enough, and that we need structured initiatives to create the equitable impact we seek. As we continue to reimagine the built environment, a key factor in ensuring equity and sustainability for the communities we live, work, and explore in is ensuring that we are uplifting underserved and underrepresented communities and speaking up for social justice.
Through our Inclusion, Diversity, Equity, and Accountability (IDEA) Task Force, we’ve launched a quarterly Education and Action series where we bring in guest speakers who share how things like gender, race, and socio-economic status impact the built environment and the communities we represent. Our IDEA Task Force shares resources on an ongoing basis to encourage team members to continue their (un)learning journey and to turn education into action in support of organizations and policies helping these social causes. In addition, Stok launched a Donation Matching Program that matches team member donations to eligible organizations as well as provides all team members with an annual donation starter to kick-start their investment in impactful non-profit organizations.
We know the last two years have felt anything but normal, and we know your team has felt it too. To support the modern workforce, we’ve evolved our people-centric initiatives to center autonomy, mental health, and equitable impact. How is your organization supporting your team through this paradigm shift in work? We’d love to hear from you!