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As more research points to the importance of a good work-life balance, companies like IZEA are working to give employees a way to reduce stress in the workplace and flourish both on and off the job. To maintain its positive mindset and provide employees with a better experience overall, IZEA has taken bold steps to create an environment that supports a healthy balance of each person’s professional and personal life. That has landed it on Comparably’s list of companies with the Best Work-Life Balance 2021.

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According to Comparably data, aside from salary, a good work-life balance is the top priority for workers. One out of three employees says it’s more important than factors like compensation, career advancement, perks and benefits, and stability. 

“Finding a happy medium between the demands of work and personal life can be challenging, but flexibility has become increasingly more important over the past year,” said Jason Nazar, Comparably CEO and co-founder, in a statement. “The companies on our annual Best Work-Life Balance list are applauded by their employees for prioritizing a healthy work-life blend, ultimately leading to a more engaged and productive workforce.”

Striking a new balance

Although achieving a work-life balance has always been something of a challenge, the trend of working from home only exacerbated that issue.

“It has become increasingly difficult to separate work and home when working remotely,” acknowledges Melissia Bruehl, senior director, talent acquisition at IZEA. The tech tools like Zoom and Slack that allow remote workers to connect with each other can also be a source of awkward moments and unexpected interruptions — and Bruehl is quick to point out that those are embraced rather than ignored: “We allow employees to welcome the Zoom crashers, whether it’s their pets, kids, or partners. We’ll stop a meeting to have someone introduce that pet that jumps into the screen.” 

And IZEA further encourages connections between employees by offering Slack channels specifically for pet owners and parents to share funny stories, cute pictures, or even ask for personal support when needed. Bruehl says that helps lay the foundation for a positive work experience: “Removing the stress of needing to present oneself perfectly at all times allows employees to be themselves and field their creativity.” 

A good work-life balance has been shown to not only boost productivity at work and improve happiness on the job, but it plays a critical role in health and well-being. Its benefits include reduced stress levels, a lower risk of burnout, and better physical health. But it also creates greater employee loyalty and can cut the turnover rate. 

At IZEA, a healthy work-life balance is prioritized because it directly affects each employee. And, Bruehl points out, the company is more focused on outcomes than the number of hours being put in. 

Investing in the future

Looking at the work-life balance as a long-term investment, IZEA offers resources and benefits to support employees, regardless of what those needs are. The company is built on a foundation of diversity and inclusion to ensure a welcoming environment for all, and Bruehl says that IZEA is committed to making sure each employee benefits from his or her experience at the company. 

“We care about our employees as people, and that is why we offer resources that help them manage their wellness,” Bruehl says. “Wellness is a foundational aspect of being. If our employees aren’t doing well, then how can we expect them to perform well?”

When employees can balance their work life and home life, everyone wins, says Kaila Kowalski, who was recently hired as manager of workplace culture and communications. 

“When our people feel energized, motivated, and supported by the company, we can continue to reach new heights and crush our goals,” she says. “We want to keep leading our industry — and having happy and motivated employees is a driving force in being able to do that.”

Because remote work can sometimes feel isolating, Kowalski says they encourage employees to find a structure and environment that suits them best. IZEA urges them to discover what they need to enjoy their work and feel productive, whether that means working from a park, from a coffee shop, or taking time each day to meet with friends. And, just as it’s important to be present and productive, the company also recognizes the importance of being able to step away and recharge. That’s why it increased the number of fixed companywide holidays to 15 and added four “floating holidays” that team members can use to celebrate important milestones or holidays. In addition to the generous holiday observations, each team member accrues PTO.

“We believe that one of the most critical components for success is to ensure a positive employee experience,” Kowalski says.

By creating a healthy work-life balance for its employees, IZEA is laying the foundation for that success.

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