How Levels’ remote, asynchronous culture makes life easier for working parents

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There’s been a lot of talk in the past few years about how remote work makes things easier for working parents. While it’s true that a lack of commute and the ability to be home all day can help, many remote jobs still expect their employees to be online and present from 9-to-5 — which can make it hard to be present with your kids when they need you.

We think the asynchronous nature of work at Levels on top of our fully remote culture really changes the game for working parents. In short, employees have total flexibility to organize their days to balance work, family, and personal needs. Here’s how that makes a difference in the lives of several parents on the Levels team.

No More Scheduling Family Around Work

As silly as some of the viral videos of kids crashing Zoom meetings are, any working parent knows that managing kids and a day full of meetings is challenging. Since the Levels team works with virtually no meetings, it opens up the day in a different way.

“Async is the keyword here, which translates into ‘not that many meetings,’” explains Head of Product Scott Klein, who has two young children. “At standard remote or in-person jobs, most decisions get made in the room (or the Zoom room) with everyone involved, so even if you’re remote, you’re expected to show up to a ton of sync meetings, or the company can grind to a halt.”

Instead, Levels employees can truly structure their workdays as they need, carving out focus time when it’s feasible between their parenting responsibilities. “The ‘balance’ part is being able to break the day up into a few multi-hour chunks to alternate between work and family,” says Klein. “I’ll have a full workday done by the end of the day, but it may come in several three-hour chunks interspersed with family and kid time.”

Head of Growth Ben Grynol, father of four, adds that it’s nice to know he’ll be able to keep up a schedule that works for him and his family day after day. “You’re never going to have a surprise meeting pop on your calendar when you’re getting the kids ready for school in the morning or right before you have dinner with them in the evening,” he explains.

Editorial Director Mike Haney saw this difference firsthand when comparing his wife’s remote experience to his own. “When I started at Levels in November 2020, my son was still doing virtual school. My wife was working a more traditional remote job, so she would disappear into her office all day long on Zoom calls. On the other hand, I was able to block my calendar from nine to one every day to help my son with school and do my work in the early mornings, evenings, or weekends when my wife could sign off work,” he shares. “I certainly wouldn’t have been able to take this job if it were a normal remote job that meant being in meetings all day.”

Copywriting Manager Jenn Palandro is able to be one of the moms who meet her son at the bus at noon for dropoff. “This never would’ve happened at any other job,” she says, “and I would’ve had to scramble to find continuing care to supplement his half-day Kindergarten.” Jenn can have lunch with her older son every day and extend quality time if called for. “We pick up our baby from daycare at 4 pm and are then completely signed off to give our family our undivided attention.”

More Flexibility When Things Change or Partners Need Support

Of course, even the best-laid plans have to change when you’re a parent. Luckily, an asynchronous culture naturally lends itself to flexibility, meaning parents at Levels can easily adjust their schedules without inconveniencing their teammates — or putting all of the responsibility on their partners.

“Anything unexpected concerning the kids is just a lot easier for my wife and me to balance as a team, instead of me being in an office and her getting stuck with the brunt of the changes since she works part-time as a freelancer from home,” shares Klein. “For instance, when our four-year-old picked up a stomach bug and the babysitter didn’t want to come for fear of getting sick, we could shuffle our schedules to take care of the kids while also getting done what we needed for the week. It was busy, but it fell on us equally instead of crushing her schedule.”

Even barring emergencies, kids’ schedules change over time, and an asynchronous setup without heavy oversight on how employees spend their days makes it easier to adjust to that. “What’s great about the flexibility is that I can continue to change how and when I work as circumstances change,” says Haney. “And you don’t even have to talk to anybody about it. We don’t have to file a plan with HR to say, ‘I’m going to work these hours instead of these hours,’ because the entire company is built to be remote, async, and autonomous.”

No Special Moments — or Personal Priorities — Sacrificed

We’ve talked a lot about the logistics of parenthood, but Levels’ remote, asynchronous culture also allows teammates more time to just be with their kids while they grow up. “It helps me feel present for my family in a way that I didn’t when my son was younger, and I worked a traditional job where I left for the office early in the morning and then came home at night and saw him for a little bit before bed,” shares Haney.

The team’s organized approach to assigning work and prioritizing tasks also helps parents feel confident about being there for their kids. “One thing that’s great about Levels is we rarely have fires — our team is good at understanding what’s truly urgent and working to avoid any surprises,” explains Haney. “Because of that, there are very few instances in which I have to brush off my son or back out on plans I made with him. If I tell him we’re going to the park this afternoon, 99% of the time, I’ll be able to follow through and trust there’s not going to be something urgent come up.”

Head of Global Operations Josh Mohrer, who has two daughters, appreciates that this work setup allows him to be more present with his kids — without sacrificing his personal needs. On a typical day, he can take his daughter to school, go for a run, have dinner with his family, and still get all his work done. “Because our work can be asynchronous, it’s less disruptive to other parts of our lives, like family and friends, fitness, or other hobbies,” he explains. “For example, I would not have time to train the way I do now in a conventional job, yet I think my work output is better than ever.”

The best part? These benefits aren’t just privileges only longstanding employees get access to — autonomy, flexibility, and trust are built into the culture for every team member from day one. “The fact that I could take a job in the thick of the pandemic when my son was still homeschooling and have flexibility from the beginning — not once I was super-established — was pretty game-changing,” says Haney.

Think Levels could be the place for you to do great work (while you live your life)? Check out open roles now.