On Friday May 7, Criteo fell silent…by design. The first monthly “Quiet Day” saw Criteos disconnecting from Zoom meetings and experiencing a different kind of day: reading, learning, working uninterrupted on a big project. Global HR leader Denis Collin talks about the innovative approach to help keep people healthy.
What’s the thinking behind Quiet Days?
We saw the effects of going from nearly 0% to 100% Work From Home last year: We spend our days connecting to back-to-back meetings with a single click and no time in between. While productivity increased, so did the risks from accumulated “Zoom fatigue” and negative effects on work-life balance.
Brainstorming, our team came up with the idea of giving employees a Quiet Day, without meetings, to change the rhythm and do something different, like working on a longer-term project or engaging in learning or just taking time to think.
What was the objective?
Initially, we were looking for ways to encourage people to use their vacation days as we saw they were taking a lot less days off last year. Criteo competes in a fast-paced, rapidly-changing environment, we’re in the process of transforming our company and there’s a lot to be done. But, we need people who are fully engaged and able to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
What has been the response?
We tried it out just prior to the end-of-year holidays and it proved very popular, with 77% of our colleagues saying they enjoyed having the “focus time.” Beginning in May, the first Friday of every month will be a Quiet Day. We’re also offering a day off on May 28 to all Criteos in appreciation for their hard work and solid execution during the 1st quarter of the year.
Your teams also proposed other initiatives?
Yes, our Workplace team introduced activities to help people disconnect during the day and take a break. We’ve also added e-learning modules on how to be better organized and how to improve meetings. Simple things like scheduling meetings for 25 instead of 30 minutes can help break the chain and let people catch their breath.
We are also integrating a number of bottom-up initiatives into our ways or working. For example, protecting the right of everyone to disconnect from their job and not feeling obliged to be attentive to emails outside of work hours.
What do these changes represent for Criteo?
It’s about being agile and responding to the conditions imposed by covid, the company’s needs in a rapidly-changing business environment and the needs and feedback of our employees. We’ll continue to monitor how people are doing, including as we return to the office with our hybrid Work From Home approach, and continue to adapt as needed. Our approach is to respond to the need for a healthy work-life balance.