Why this startup is encouraging employees to work from wherever to give them ‘the maximum flexibility’

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Over the last year, Jennifer Khuat and Kelly Lee — who are based in New York — have traveled to and worked from cities like Seattle, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago, among others.

They are both sales executives for Blueground, a startup that offers people access to furnished apartments in 15 cities across the globe, allowing them to work from anywhere as part of a program introduced earlier this year called Blueground Nomads.

The program is one of the ways the company is looking to combat burnout for its roughly 400 employees, many of whom are adventurous and love to travel but were unable to do so early on in the pandemic, according to Dimitris Psaltoulis, vp of people at Blueground. Rather than telling people they need to return to the office, Blueground is exploring what flexibility could mean for the company with the program. Blueground is one of a number of companies trying out new perks or offerings to help mitigate burnout for employees.

“After a year of COVID, we said ‘what is the future? Should we start finding a new office?,’” said Psaltoulis. “Our vision is that people should be flexible [with where they live] so let’s do the same for our people. Let’s give people the maximum flexibility. We said you could go anywhere you could legally work.”

At the same time, Blueground also doubled the amount of time its employees were able to stay in one of its international apartments, from two weeks to four weeks to try and makeup for pandemic-affected travel.

“It makes sense for our people,” said Psaltoulis of the apartment stays. “They get to experience the brand and the product that we have. At the same time, it helps the company. They give us feedback, tell us what works and what doesn’t. They get the experience and understand what we offer so the company also gets better and the product gets better.” 

Being able to work from various cities, travel and stay in the company’s apartments at times is a “huge perk” that helps Khuat “explore and live out personal goals while with the company,” she said. “It helps you balance personal and work life,” added Khuat. “It makes me feel more balanced than if I were working full time in the office.” (Blueground connected Digiday with Khuat and Lee for their perspective.)

Beefing up vacation policies and offering employees flexibility will likely help with employee retention and help companies be competitive now, explained talent recruiter Christie Cordes. 

“We are seeing unlimited paid vacation packages with our competitive future-forward clients,” said Cordes. “The gloves are off in talent attraction. What will retain the best talent, is truthfully caring for each and every person on the company’s payroll.”

Cordes continued: “The very best companies will be the ones who are willing and able to take the very best care of the world’s best creative minds.”

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