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Breaking the Cycle of Burnout

Jan. 3, 2018

In 2007, Arianna Huffington, co-founder and then editor-in-chief of The Huffington Post, collapsed from exhaustion. With that, she experienced what she refers to as her “wake-up call.” In the introduction to her book, “Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder” she stated, “After my fall, I had to ask myself, ‘Was this what success looked like? Was this the life I wanted?’ I was working eighteen hours a day, seven days a week, trying to build a business, expand our coverage, and bring in investors. But my life, I realized, was out of control. In terms of the traditional measures of success, which focus on money and power, I was very successful. But I was not living a successful life by any sane definition of success. I knew something had to radically change. I could not go on that way.”

That’s when the seeds of Thrive Global were planted. According to Abby Levy, president of the organization, Huffington “saw how deeply people want to change their lives. So she wanted to go beyond just speaking out and realizing awareness—she felt the need to turn this passion into something real and tangible that would begin to help people change their daily lives. And so Thrive Global was born.” In 2016, the brand took a step further by creating partnerships with groups and entities that share Thrive’s mission of creating products that focus on overall well-being through scientific evidence.

Since 1983, Humanscale has stood at the forefront of overall well-being. Started by Robert King with ergonomics in mind, the company has evolved over almost 35 years along with the understanding of what it means to be healthy in the workplace. As explained by Tina Brennan, senior brand director of Humanscale, the goal has been to follow the human body and how we work. This focus on creating healthier, human-centric workplaces positioned Humanscale to become Thrive Global’s office retail partner, beginning with Thrive’s NYC pop-up shop during the 2016 holiday season.

Of the collaboration’s origins, Levy said, “We reached out ‘cold call’ to Humanscale’s head of sales and marketing via LinkedIn. We visited their showroom, learned about the history and strategy of the company, and immediately understood the alignment with Thrive Global’s work and enterprise clients’ needs. Within weeks a meaningful friendship and partnership was forged.” 

Unlike other collaborations that result in new products or interiors, the Humanscale-Thrive Global partnership is working toward changing the way in which we work by giving people a broader understanding of the actionable ways—and products—to live healthier lives. 

Thrive is putting its money where its mouth is, outfitting its entire headquarters with Humanscale’s products so that the organization provides its own employees with healthier working alternatives while supporting the furniture manufacturer.

As for the future of the collaboration, Brennan said both brands will work together to educate larger audiences on the importance of wellness and the ways in which people can take their health into their own hands through joint consultation services and workshops, as well as through Thrive’s media platform, ThriveGlobal.com. Together, they hope to accelerate a culture shift toward allowing people to take control of their own wellness.

“We have been living under a collective delusion that burnout is necessary for success,” Levy said, “that if you want to succeed, build a company, climb the ladder, you have to burn the candle at both ends. It’s been this way since the Industrial Revolution and the increasing presence of technology in our lives has only fueled it. But all the latest science has proven that the opposite is true—that when we unplug and recharge, we are more productive, more creative, make better decisions, and live our lives with greater fulfillment.” 

About the Author

Kadie Yale | Former Editor-in-Chief

Kadie Yale holds a BA in Industrial Design from San Francisco State University and a MA in Decorative Art History and Theory from Parsons the New School. In her role as editor-in-chief from 2015-2018, she led the interiors+sources team in creating relevant content that touches on sustainability, universal design, science, and the role of design in society.

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