Interviews / PR & Communications

Balancing the Grind with Hailley Griffis, Head of Communications & Content at Buffer

Hailley Griffis is the Head of Communications & Content at Buffer, and a co-host on the MakeWorkWork podcast. 

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

When I was still in University I worked at a clothing store but wanted to get into social media management. Somehow, I convinced the owner to let me run a few of their social accounts and used those results and that experience to get freelance social media clients.

I freelanced for a while in addition to interning at a local startup doing press outreach for them. From there, I went fully into in-house public relations where I focused on media relations, creating content for press, and training spokespeople. Working in house, and primarily with startups, has been a great experience as I get to focus on just one company and get to know the team and stories really well. 

Now, I’ve been at Buffer for the last six years. I’ve primarily been on the public relations side of things but in the last year my role has expanded to take on broader communications as well. Everything from crisis communications to social media content and content across our blogs. I get to work closely with a great team of content and social media folks, which is an absolute blast. 

2) What does a day in your life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

The work I focus on throughout the day can vary but ultimately falls into the buckets of: creating content, editing content, coordinating and planning, and people management. Here’s a recent day: 

My work day starts at 8 am. I’m a morning person so this is my preference. I started the day off with deep work finishing writing and editing our 2022 pay analysis. I start the day with  a two hour block for deep work three days a week. Those deep work blocks are important for me as my most productive windows in terms of output. 

After that, I did some blog editing and gave feedback on a few social posts. From there, I had a TV interview about Buffer’s four-day work week. I don’t generally do TV so this took a bit more prep but was a great experience. 

At lunch I spent time with my 10-month old daughter who is at home with a caretaker. I love that I get to spend time with her throughout the day. After lunch, I had a few calls including a 1:1 with one of my new teammates. I try to schedule all of my calls for my afternoons when my energy levels are naturally lower. That doesn’t always work out but it’s nice when it does. 

The rest of my day was spent giving feedback on various pieces of content, planning our content calendar, and staying on top of email and notifications. 

My workday ends promptly at 5 pm so I can spend time with my daughter before she goes to bed. 

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

Yes, Buffer is a fully remote company so my whole six years here have been fully remote. I prefer working from home, even before that became the norm, so I have a dedicated office space at home where I spent my day working. 

I aim to not take work outside of the office and my laptop generally stays in my office most of the time as well. I find that physical separation between doing work only in my office helps me relax more when I’m done working for the day. 

Personally, remote work is definitely the best fit for how I work and how I want to live my life. I love not having to commute, I love not having to leave home to get to work, and having my own tea and snacks steps away is also pretty fantastic. 

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

To me work-life balance means being able to switch-off from work mode after work. I’ve worked for years to make sure my notification system serves my schedule.

Right now, I get notifications throughout the work day on my phone if I’m not at my laptop, but otherwise notifications are off after work from tools like Slack and I do my best not to check them at all. 

Work-life balance also means having the flexibility at work to be able to set work aside. Sometimes if something in life comes up and that comes from working with a company that puts people first, I’m really grateful that Buffer is that sort of place. 

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

The past 12 months have been different for me as I just had my daughter 10 months ago, luckily I’m back in a great routine now, though it’s quite different. 

Now, I wake up before she does so that I get time to myself in the morning. My entire day is better if I get that space. I primarily use that time to either run or do yoga, again setting me up for a great day. 

Prior to having a baby I was never this regimented about working out before I started my workday but it has had a very positive impact on my energy levels and mood throughout the day and nothing motivates me more than knowing this is possibly the only time I’ll get to workout in a day so I’d better do it now. 

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

One of my all time favourite books is The Daily Stoic by Ryan Holiday, I would recommend that to just about anyone. 

For podcasts, I listen to every episode of Cortex, a show by two content creators who discuss the systems, processes, and tools they use in work and life. I absolutely love the show. 

I’ve also been a fan of Marissa Goldberg’s newsletter Remotely Interesting since she started it. She has started doing work profiles recently and the one for Steph Smith was fantastic. 

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I was hesitant to get an Apple Watch but now I can’t imagine life without it. It helps me stay consistent with my exercise routine and makes sure I’m standing throughout the day, plus it’s been helpful for putting my phone down but still getting important notifications. 

Todoist is an app for making to-do lists that I run my entire life in and I would be very very lost without it. And I switched to a standing desk with this Cooper standing desk converter last year and now I can’t imagine going back to not being able to stand and work. 

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

I love all of the content that Liz Fosslien creates and it resonates so much I see it on every social platform. I’d be so curious to learn about how she sets up her day given that she both works full time and is a successful illustrator and author. 

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

It’s taken me a really long time to feel “balanced” and some days and weeks I’m better at it than others.

Ultimately for me, getting to know myself and how I like to work, what my energy levels are like, and which tasks I need to focus on vs. can do quickly has made it a lot easier for me to set up my life to feel more balanced. It sounds like a cliché but I’ve found the better I know myself the easier everything, including work-life balance, becomes.

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.