05 Jul 2022

Striking a Work-Life Balance: How We Do It At Milkbasket | A 'Workaholics Day' Special

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Early last month, a tweet by a popular influencer glorifying workaholism went viral within minutes on the internet. While many people stood in support of the influencer’s idea, many took to disagreeing with him in the most humorous ways. Notwithstanding, his remarks did reignite the mainstream conversations around maintaining a work-life balance and avoiding ‘burnout’.

Is Work-life Balance and Burnout real?

According to Psychology Today, Burnout is an absolutely real scenario that is often related to prolonged stress. This stress could be felt at the workplace, or at any place where you are accountable for producing results in a specific job or a role. It is marked by chronic physical, mental, and emotional exhaustion that affects one’s vitality and efficiency. It also greatly impacts one’s performance in that role as well as other areas of life.

Burnout and monday motivation - workaholics day

Christina Maslach and Michael Leiter’s Areas of Worklife model defines six key areas that determine the quality of your work life. These are namely – WorkLoad, Autonomy, Reward, Community/Rapport, Fairness, and Values/Ethics. Burnout is often caused when there is a repeated mismatch or discrepancy between an individual and their environment over a considerable time period.

What is work-life balance?

What work-life balance essentially means is to give equivalent priority to one’s professional responsibilities as well as their life outside of work. Sure, it is an individual’s responsibility to give time to their health, relationships, and personal passions. However, it can only be fully possible if their workplace culture is conducive to it.

Creating Work-life Balance, the Milkbasket way

Just ahead of this Workaholics Day, we got into a conversation with some Mb’ians. The idea was to understand how they feel about work-life balance and whether they are able to maintain it in their current jobs. After all, nothing spells reality more accurately than hearing it from the horse’s mouth itself. 

Work life balance in an indian startup company milkbasket

Leadership is important in maintaining work-life balance

“I have often felt that Milkbasket does not have employees but ‘owners’. Such is the level of ownership, belongingness and solution-orientation in our people.”

Abhinav Imandi (COO, Milkbasket)

As Abhinav Imandi, COO @Milkbasket, says “We have always been an organization that believes in agility and flexibility. When people have a good work-life balance, it shows up as excellence and accountability in their work too.”

Abhinav also added, “As a leader, I always focus on empowering my team as well as my peers. I ensure that our meetings are short, crisp, and as less recurring as possible. It’s important to respect each other’s time. I am not a firm believer of glorifying being a workaholic or working long hours either.

The result of encouraging such a work environment is that rather than hiding their mistakes, our teams take ownership. They assist each other and work with a sense of belongingness too. Whenever we are faced with a challenge, our people quickly get into problem-solving and expedited decision-making rather than passing the buck.

Policy-level initiatives and integration are the keys

The idea behind Milkbasket is to ease the life of our customers. We are constantly innovating on ways to delight them – whether it’s through our product, service, or our customer care. However, the only way to achieve excellence in this is to understand and respect what people actually care about. As the old adage goes, change must always begin from home.

Even the simplest of initiatives that secure and reward your teams can go a long way in avoiding burnout and facilitating employee engagement.

Pooja Leekhi – Human Resources

At Milkbasket, apart from a detailed Maternity Leave policy, we also recently increased the duration of our Paternity leave from a week to 15 days. It is one of the longest duration Paternity Leave offered by any of the corporates in India,” shares Pooja Leekhi (Human Resources)

Employee Wellness Initiatives

Nandita Soni (Human Resources) says, “We have allotted budgets for team outings and excursions at least twice a year. We are soon organizing a COVID-19 vaccination drive for our employees too. Policies like medical insurance for self, spouse, children and dependent parents, etc. have been introduced to ensure that our employees believe that they can fall back on their organization. Retention and engagement gauge better when employees genuinely feel a sense of family and belongingness.

  • Team outing at milkbasket - striking work life balance
  • off site excursion - indian startup tema - milkbasket - avoiding burnout
  • gender representation - women working at milkbasket bangalore hub
  • gender representation - women working at milkbasket hub
  • gender representation - women working at milkbasket noida hub

A part of ensuring that our people feel valued is to express our gratitude and acknowledgement every chance we get. Initiatives like festival celebrations, team off-sites, or team-building activities, really boost employee morale and engagement. As the Culture team, we encourage people to collaborate, bond with each other, and spend time together offline as well. That’s why we have an open and agile workspace too, with cabins and meeting rooms that can be used arbitrarily by any individual or teams when they like,” adds Nandita.

Culture is fostered both Top-to-down and Down-to-Top

I believe that leadership plays a huge role in fostering a culture of responsibility and confidence.

Anwesha Raj, Sr. Program Manager – Growth @Milkbasket.

A couple of months ago, I had to attend to a family emergency. My manager and peers were highly supportive during the time, allowing me to work from home and supporting me during the entirety of the duration. I have never felt the obligation to work outside of my work hours, or deliver on short notice, or ever have my integrity questioned,” shares Anwesha Raj, Sr. Program Manager – Growth @Milkbasket.

She also added, “It takes just about the right amount of challenge to learn and grow. Therefore, while the work-life balance is there, I have never felt a dull moment in my career either. My leaders have always been highly supportive and acted as mentors, not just managers. This has been my greatest learning at Milkbasket.

A good rapport at work is the cornerstone of employee engagement

What I love most about working at Milkbasket is that I am appreciated for the quality of work I deliver and not the amount of time I spend at my work-station.

Pratibha Sharma (Program Manager, Product @Milkbasket)

Pratibha Sharma (Program Manager, Product @Milkbasket) added, “It’s great when you have guidance as well as autonomy. At Milkbasket, I can share and work on inspired as well as original ideas. As a result, I am always excited to work on new projects, take initiative, and deliver impeccable work.”

In the words of Upendra Pande (Program Manager, Category Team), “The Category team has to be one of the busiest and most exciting teams at Milkbasket. We are always strategizing, innovating, and executing new ideas. What makes the hustle worth the while is having a great rapport with my peers. The team is excellent, there is constructive feedback, and it allows me to learn and grow in my career.

It is important to care for the aspirations of your people

Before I joined Milkbasket, I was certain that I wanted to work in a flexible work environment. I am passionate about organic skincare and develop my own hand-made products in my free time. I opened up about my aspirations and how I wanted to continue working on them in my time off work. My reporting manager as well as the HR team were both respectful and encouraging of my idea and spirit,” says Pratiksha Vichhivora (Content Strategy & Customer Care)

She also adds, “5-day a week Flexi-shift, privilege leaves, and a supportive team that holds the fort in your absence – are all things that help me strike a healthy work-life balance.

Pratibha Sharma (Program Manager, Product) shares with us, “I had earlier joined Milkbasket as an Analyst in the growth team. However, I found myself more and more interested in working with the Product Team. When I shared this with my manager Ashwini, who is the AVP of Growth, he truly encouraged my aspirations. He even went so far as to facilitate the process of my move to another team. Such display of confidence in me by my seniors has kept me motivated to reach bigger milestones with time.

What are your views on workaholism? What are some ways that you keep a self-check to avoid burnout and strike a balance between your work and personal/social life? Share with us in the comments below! 


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