“I don’t workout to lose weight or anything like that, it’s for the mental breather. I don’t go on my phone and I’m able to block everything out. I do that 5 five days a week, even if I have to stay up late or wake up early to fit it in. It’s the 30 or 40 minutes of the day where no one’s bothering me,” said Kayla Lebovits, Entrepeneur. She added, “I’ve done that for many years and did not miss a beat with the pandemic because without that time, I don’t think I’ll be able to perform as well or be there for my team and our clients.”
What happens when an amazing growth opportunity comes during a pandemic? Although many businesses have struggled, others, have experienced hypergrowth. But leaders, have a short window to channel that increased demand, into long-term stability. Although our culture praises self-sacrifice and most parents, have dropped self-care during Covid, the reality is self-care leads to success. And Kayla has found clever ways to maintain the energy to scale her business.
Covid Made the Big Childcare Problem, Bigger
Although she started her company 3 years ago, Kayla’s major pivot for the pandemic has led to rapid expansion. “We were primarily doing in-home care. When Covid happened, we took what we were doing in the home and made it virtual. And it took off.”
Kayla said, “I had worked in finance prior to starting Bundle. And I witnessed a lot of parents, specifically women, struggling as they were starting their families and also trying to excel in their careers. And I felt that employers had a unique opportunity to allow them to have peace of mind at work. So, I started interviewing tons of parents across the US.”
She discovered that childcare is broken for most working families. Kayla explained, “The 9 to 5 doesn’t exist! Some of us work 12-hour days, others work into the night or early mornings. There are so many different types of work schedules. And because of that, I thought there was an opportunity for childcare to be more personalized to different family needs.” Bravo!
Which Led to Scaling a Business at it’s Busiest
Growth is what every leader hopes for. It’s exhilarating and validating. But it also tests everything about you, your organization and personal infrastructure. Kayla said, “Honestly, there’s been a learning curve — how to manage a team, how to manage clients and how to manage parents. There are these different and important customers I have to always check in on.” Managing rapid change, even when it’s a gift, can still lead to stress. She said, “I’m a very organized person but I’ve become more organized as demand has surged.” In a pandemic? How?
Trust Your Team
Kayla said, “I’ve found delegation to be key during this time of growth. You have to trust the people on your team, communicate and then over communicate, because you’re not sitting next to each other.” Wise! She added, “Breaking up into pods on different projects allows people to feel ownership and accountability. And allows me to get some stuff off my plate and feel more organized.” Beautiful! She’s also intentional about collaboration and scheduling team building activities where the purpose is NOT to discuss work. “I’m checking in with everyone and we have a lot of different structures that help us come together.”
Be Intentional With Time & Culture
“I carve out certain parts of my day to work on certain things, because if I don’t, then they’ll never happen.” So true. She added, “Blocking out time has helped me stay organized. And it’s also helped team members have breathing room to do that independent work.” Yes! Calendar blocking is an often under utilized way to preserve time for the highest priorities.
Kayla said, “When building a team, it takes work to maintain the spirit and objectivity of its members.” She’s careful to avoid building a culture of group think. She said, “We have a motto in the company, ‘Don’t act like a skinny mirror! Don’t tell people what you think they want to hear. And don’t expect people to tell you, what you want to hear.’ Be honest, challenge each other and continue doing that even when we’re stressed out and have deadlines to make.” Wonderful! She added, “Promoting certain values like that, helped us move into this growth mode in a positive, collaborative and unified way.” It’s a critical component. Because a lack of psychological safety at work has a corrosive effect on innovation and wellbeing.
Self-Care For Clarity & Performance
“Everyone thinks being entrepreneur is sexy. But it can be lonely. You’re always thinking about it and you don’t want to bother your team members with the ideas, or worries that come into your mind, every single second of the day,” said Kayla. She added, “I wish someone had told me how hard it would be to separate the company from my personal life!” She has been thoughtful about bringing pauses and joy into her routine. Kayla said, “We’re working in the same place that we spend our family time so, I go for a walk every day. Even if I’m working on the walk, at least I’m moving. Because I can sense times when I feel burned out and need a mental breather.” It’s key when racing at Covid-speed to seek enjoyment and breaks, even if they’re brief. Kayla is giving herself the gift of downtime when she can.
Disconnect, Learn & Unwind
Kayla said, “In the morning, I read and digest news. I like to read about other companies that are doing interesting things. It helps me to get out of my bubble. And just spending time without my phone!” With our constant on-video work life now screen intermissions become essential. Kayla said, “I feel like during the pandemic people are expecting quicker responses. So, leaving my phone in another room to spend an hour with my daughter or spend time with my husband, has done wonders for my family relationships. I know it sounds simple but it’s not when you have a lot going on.” Exactly.
She shared, “I also have a sweet tooth. So, self-care for me is indulging in desert on a daily or every other day basis. To find time when I can sit and eat ice cream and not be bothered by anyone. It’s little things like that I look forward to, even if it’s for 10 minutes, it like does a lot for my soul. And it helps me decompress from the day.” Beautiful! Self-care doesn’t have to adhere to a formula.
And Build in Flexibility
“Throughout our company, we’ve promoted ‘make your own schedule.’ When someone may need you, if you’re not available, that’s okay. And people have to be understanding of that. The more traditional companies are starting to get there with Covid and remote work but it’s definitely been a slow moving train! But companies will be forced to get there.” Yes! The workforce has been ready. She added, “I have a daughter who’s 10 months old and having flexibility in my work schedule has been such a blessing. I work more hours as an entrepreneur than I ever worked in finance, but knowing I have that flexibility, to take care of my child the way I want to, has been meaningful for me.”
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Many thanks to the talented Kayla Lebovits!
Kayla Lebovits is the Founder and CEO of Bundle Benefits. Please enjoy part one, from our interview, Will the Pandemic Lead to a Better Childcare System? And follow her great adventure on LinkedIn, and her company’s website.