We had the good fortune of connecting with Yannell Selman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yannell, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I founded Cultiveit after experiencing extreme burnout multiple times throughout my career. I went to grad school at UC Berkeley to learn more about the issue, and what I found surprised me. There’s a big gap between what the research says about work-life balance and the workplace practices I experienced in the workforce. I learned that burnout is the instance when your job tasks outpace the resources (especially cognitive & emotional resources) to complete those tasks. As we work, we deplete our cognitive and emotional resources, and as we rest, we recover those. The key insight for me was: the QUALITY of work breaks determine the impact. It’s not just about taking time-off; it’s what you do with that time off that matters. Our team at Cultiveit dove deep into this research and learned that achieving cognitive, emotional, and physical distance from work can maximize physiological resource recovery and stress reduction. We developed a 5-part framework around High Quality Time-Off, and we support employers in implementing it in their workplace. Examples of High Quality Time-Off include surfing, biking, going to an art museum, roller skating, throwing pottery, cooking, and more. With remote work models becoming the norm, it’s important to be intentional with your boundaries with work. Here are a few tips: 1) set boundaries between work time and non-work time, 2) burnout isn’t an individual problem; ensure your company is having org-wide conversations on the topic, and 3) while rest and chores are necessary, they’re not sufficient for feeling like yourself again – make time for High Quality Time-Off.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
At Cultiveit, we envision a world where work culture is sustainable. We believe that the best leaders are those that take their time-off seriously. Tech and the transition to remote work have led to an “always on” expectation, where teams feel that success looks like responding to Slack messages at midnight or checking emails on vacation. Research indicates that this leads to exhaustion, cynicism, and burnout. Since 2019, we’ve seen a paradigm shift in our thinking on burnout. Since the 1970s when the term was defined, we’ve thought about burnout as a clinical problem requiring clinical solutions. Now, we’re understanding that burnout is a question of management science. The six drivers of burnout (workload, recognition, control, values, community, fairness) are all team culture practices decided by managers and leaders. The solutions for burnout are not therapy and meditation – it is building a team culture that minimizes cognitive resource depletion and maximizes cognitive resource recovery. Teams must take an org-wide view of burnout, and pursue systemic solutions. Founded at UC Berkeley, our research indicates that burnout is preventable. We are on a mission to help teams prevent the crash-and-burn cycle that characterizes many passionate, high performing teams. Moving beyond that requires new thinking and practices from leaders. We’re here to catalyze that change.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
This is the essence of High Quality Time-Off! Favorite experiences include: surf lessons, art museums, beach yoga, throwing pottery, goat hiking, cooking class, mushroom foraging, beekeeping, wine tasting, salsa dancing, visiting the zoo, and more!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Huge shoutout to our Cultiveit team, who continues to stare the problem of burnout in the face each day and make monumental leaps toward resolving it. We are also grateful to our community partners, who offer world-class experiences to our users each day. From mushroom foraging to dance class to beekeeping and more, you are key to the future where people spend their time in ways that inspire and connect them.
All photos courtesy of Cultiveit, Inc.