Why HubSpot’s CEO encourages employees to meditate and take naps

HubSpot has adopted a fourfold-approach to health and wellbeing

HubSpot has adopted a fourfold-approach to health and wellbeing and the company’s CEO actively encourages employees to take naps to not only rest and recover if needed, but also stimulate ideas with a view to improving innovation.

Promoting rest and relaxation is one of HubSpot’s four health and wellbeing pillars, according to APAC culture manager, Claudia Shepherd, who explained that stressed, exhausted employees are not effective at work.

“Instead of promoting a culture where your team feels pressured to ‘look busy’, encourage taking regular breaks throughout the day,” she said.

“Lots of companies are now providing lunchtime meditation sessions, and HubSpot’s CEO Brian Halligan believes the best ideas happen when you’re just waking up from a nap.”

HubSpot, a US-based company which develops and markets inbound marketing and sales software, has nap or meditation rooms designed for relaxation with dim lighting, soft speakers and plants, in its eight global offices which are spread across five continents.

“These are often used when, for example, parents were up late with their newborn or an employee returns from a business trip and didn’t get to rest, or simply just to sit quietly and think,” said Shepherd.

HubSpot has been recognised as a best place to work thanks to a range of factors including its health and wellbeing program, as well as an open and inclusive culture, supportive leadership and flexible working options.

Encouraging flexible hours
Hubspot, which generated revenues of US$375.6 million (A$521.9 million) in 2017 and has some 52,000 customers across more than 100 countries, also offers flexible hours which help employees achieve a level of autonomy to create their own schedules and find a work-life balance that works for them.

“Rather than a traditional, 40 hour nine-to-five work week, a flexible schedule allows employees to vary the times they begin and end their work day,” said Shepherd.

“Instead of promoting a culture where your team feels pressured to ‘look busy’, encourage taking regular breaks throughout the day”

“For example, HubSpot’s culture is built on the belief that the way people work and live has changed — people want to build their work around their lives, not the other way around, so our employees don’t have a start and finish time, and we give them unlimited vacation.

“It works because we put an incredible amount of effort into hiring remarkable people that we can trust.

“So, we treat them like adults and expect that they’re going to use good judgement when deciding their schedule.”

If companies cannot go this far, Shepherd advised working within the parameters they have to provide some structure around flexible working hours.

“It’s something that is incredibly important to today’s workforce; research from recruiter Robert Half reveals 47 per cent of workers would accept a lower salary in exchange for flexible working hours,” she said.

“Offering flexible hours also allows employees to work when they’re most productive, adapt schedules to meet family needs and pursue passions outside of work.”

Encourage exercise
Another pillar of HubSpot’s health and wellbeing program is exercise, and Shepherd said one way that exercise can increase productivity at work is through alertness.

“When you exercise, you are also increasing blood flow to the brain, which sharpens your awareness and makes you more ready to tackle your next big project,” she said.

“If you have the resources, offering a gym with workout equipment, or facilitating group workouts in a nearby park at lunchtime, are both good ways to promote workplace wellness.”

Midday workouts can improve employee productivity all day long, according to Shepherd, who also recommended considering “walking” meetings.

“Ultimately though, you can’t buy your way into the heart of employees with perks”

“Encourage your employees to get out and about and take a lap around the block with their team,” she said.

“Your employees aren’t tethered to their desk and will benefit from a breath of fresh air and a chance to stretch their legs,” said Shepherd, who pointed out that Steve Jobs insisted on walking meetings and Mark Zuckerberg is also a proponent of them.

Provide healthy snacks and nutrition consultations
Shepherd also said wellness programs help interested HubSpot employees live healthier at work and beyond through programming, benefits and facilities.

“For example, you can help employees adopt healthier eating by improving the availability of healthy food choices at work,” she said.

“If you have an office kitchen, consider stocking it with protein bars, fruits, vegetables or other healthy snacks instead of just chips and chocolate.

“If possible, offer free consultations with a nutritionist, or put on group sessions if that’s more realistic.”

Shepherd wrapped up by noting that there are innumerable options to encourage a healthier lifestyle at work.

“Ultimately though, you can’t buy your way into the heart of employees with perks,” she said.

“Smart, remarkable people want to work in an environment that challenges them, and for a company that genuinely cares about their wellbeing.

“That’s really the key – you have to genuinely show that you care about your employees, and that goes far beyond perks.”