Life/Work Balance – Not Just a Myth but Why it Works at Linical

April 24, 2023

The clinical research industry is incredibly demanding. We can go from planning the design of one trial to putting out fires on another in the blink of an eye. Thanks to TEAMS meetings, phone calls, emails, tracker updates, data review – and everything in between – our days (and weeks) are very full. I think that we’re in this industry because we are a special breed of detail-oriented people who thrive on a little bit of chaos and get satisfaction from delivering a service which can positively impact so many around the globe. Our work is very important to us, but there is more to life than work. 

The phrase “work-life balance” gets thrown around a lot, with the “life” part often referring to eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising, and spending quality time with friends and family. All of this is essential, but I think that doing something for pure personal enjoyment is an equally important part of work-life balance. Pursuing hobbies and passions connects us with like-minded people, broadens our identity beyond our home life and job title, and builds confidence. If work is all we have, our day is largely dictated by how that workday went. Hobbies keep us aware and inquisitive, give us a way to mentally and emotionally recharge by having fun, and often provide opportunities to gain a new perspective. 

Pursuing my hobbies and passions helps me to relieve stress and also provides a sense of fulfillment. My main hobbies are archery and cycling (though I’ve also taken up ukulele), and when I am not working, I pour myself into them wholeheartedly. I take archery in particular very seriously and spend much of my free time training. I wouldn’t exactly describe my evenings and weekends as “restful,” but throwing myself into my sport helps me to recharge from the intensity of work and provides me with a sense of calm by being present in the moment. Recharging in this way allows me to take a step back and examine situations in my life differently. 

Lots of people at Linical Americas pursue hobbies. Some are athletes like myself: Doug Schallon, for example, recently ran a half-marathon in Washington DC, and I think the first Town Hall meeting I ever attended featured Vita Lanoce in her cycling attire for the Fit To Be Cancer Free event. You can imagine my surprise at seeing the CEO conduct the meeting like this, but it reinforced that the company culture recognizes that we are more than just our job titles. I also learned over the summer that there are a ton of people who love fishing after Suzanne Mathias hosted the Virtual Fishing Tournament at July’s Fun-at-Lunch session. 

Being able to work remotely at Linical allows me to pursue competitive archery more easily. I’ve taken full advantage of half-day Fridays and flexed hours to get in longer training sessions, and I enjoy more freedom in traveling to competitions because I can work from anywhere. This May I’ll be shooting the Easton Foundations Gator Cup, a national-level competition in Florida, and will be arriving several days before the tournament. I plan to work during the day and practice in the late afternoons/evenings so that I can acclimatize to the local conditions. I’ll also be well rested after travel, which will hopefully give me a bit of edge over other competitors when the event starts. Linical’s unlimited PTO policy also allows me to feel more comfortable with taking time off in pursuit of my main hobby. I’m not worried about “banking” vacation days or feeling conflicted about having to choose between competing and spending time with family during the holidays. Not feeling burdened by that type of decision allows me to fully enjoy time off from work regardless of how I spend it and promotes a true work-life balance.

Beyond these company-supplied perks, Linical employees actively encourage and support each other’s pursuits. The company culture here that supports true work-life balance – specifically including the pursuit of hobbies – is beautiful, and something I’ve never experienced in prior workplaces. In September 2022 Kim Slack (based in WA) traveled with Meghan Hayden (based in OH) to Islamorada, FL as her kayak support partner in an 8-mile open-water swim competition. Last April, Heidi Miller and I checked in regularly to encourage each other’s respective running and cycling spring training routines as the Canadian winter finally came to an end. And when I put in my vacation request for last August, casually mentioning to my manager Aaron Sanford that I’d be competing at the USA Archery Target Nationals and US Open, I was met with an enthusiastic, “That’s amazing! Please share pictures and let me know how it goes!” 

Dedicating time to archery and cycling provides me with physical and intellectual stimulation…and just makes me happy. My hobbies are very separate from my job, but also play into how I work and the quality I produce. I appreciate that the confidence, renewed perspective, and general sense of satisfaction I gain from pursuing my passions outside of the office also allow me to perform under pressure and in demanding situations while on the job.

Sometimes it can be challenging to find balance within “work-life balance,” but in this fast-paced, crazy world, pursuing hobbies and passions is a way to step back, unwind and appreciate the joys of living!

Lauren Duenas
Senior Clinical Trial Associate - Linical Americas