Bumble closes offices worldwide to allow 700 workers time to de-stress

Bumble gives ALL staff a paid week off: Dating app closes offices worldwide to allow 700 ‘burnt out’ workers time to de-stress and ‘focus on themselves’

  • Some 700 worldwide staff have been given a week off to combat burnout
  • Bumble founder Whitney Wolfe Herd decided to take ‘a much-needed break’
  • It has been a busy year for the women-centric dating app’s team amid Covid-19
  • Subscribers to Bumble and its parent site Badoo rose by 30 per cent this year 

Bumble has closed its offices for a week-long ‘much-needed break’ to give ‘burnt out’ staff some offline time to de-stress and ‘focus on themselves’.

Some 700 world-wide staff were given a holiday at the same time in a dramatic effort to combat ‘workplace stress’.

Founder Whitney Wolfe Herd, 31, ‘correctly intuited our collective burnout’, one senior executive wrote on Twitter. 

The World Health Organisation defines burnout as an ‘occupational phenomenon’ caused by ‘chronic workplace stress’. 

Bumble’s head of editorial content, Clare O’Connor, praised Mrs Wolfe Herd’s decision to take ‘a much-needed break’ in a now-deleted Tweet.

On Monday, she wrote: ‘@WhitWolfeHerd gave all 700ish of us a paid week off, having correctly intuited our collective burnout. In the U.S. especially, where vacation days are notoriously scarce, it feels like a big deal.’ 

Founder Whitney Wolfe Herd (pictured in 2019), 31, made the decision to shut up shop temporarily ‘having correctly intuited our collective burnout’, one senior executive said

What is workplace burnout? 

Workplace burnout is defined as ‘a syndrome resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.’

Symptoms include; Feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion, increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and reduced professional efficacy.

It is used to describe an ‘occupational phenomenon’ and is not an official medical term, according to the World Health organisation (WHO). 

Source: WHO 

 Bumble announced the move back in April when a spokesman said: ‘We recently announced that all Bumble employees will have a paid, fully offline one-week vacation in June.’ 

On average in the US workers are granted up to 10 days annual leave. 

In a hectic year for the company Mrs Wolfe Herd became the youngest woman, at 31, to take a company public in the US when she oversaw its stock market debut in February.

The number of paid users on Bumble and its parent site Badoo rose by 30 per cent in the three months to March 31, compared with the same period the year before, as bored Britons whiled away the hours during lockdown.

Bumble spokeswoman Rosanna Sacks has confirmed the week-long break.

She said: ‘Like everyone, our global team has had a very challenging time during the pandemic.

‘As vaccination rates have increased and restriction have begun to ease, we wanted to give our teams around the world an opportunity to shut off and focus on themselves for a week.’

Bumble staff will be back at work from June 28.

Mrs Wolfe Herd founded the female-empowering dating app in 2014, following her departure from Tinder over claims of sexual discrimination and harassment from male co-founders.

The married mother-of-one was one of five co-founders of Tinder, but quit the start-up company in 2014 and sued fellow partners Sean Rad and her ex-lover Justin Mateen for sexual harassment.

This year she rang the Nasdaq bell with her 18-month-old baby son in her arms and addressed the crowd saying she wanted to make the internet a ‘kinder, more accountable place’.

Bumble is not the only workplace suffering from burnout because of added pressures put on by the pandemic.

Bumble’s head of editorial content, Clare O’Connor, praised Mrs Wolfe Herd’s decision to take ‘a much-needed break’ in a now-deleted Tweet

Mrs Wolfe Herd holds her one-year-old son,  Bobby Lee Herd II, as she celebrates taking Bumble public. Shares soared nearly 80 per cent on their stock market debut

Earlier this year a group of young bankers at Goldman Sachs threatened to quit unless working conditions improved. They claimed to work an average of 95 hours each week, with just five hours sleep every night.

A spokeswoman for the investment bank said at the time: ‘A year into Covid, people are understandably quite stretched, and that’s why we are listening to their concerns and taking multiple steps to address them.’ 

At Tinder, Mrs Wolfe Herd claimed her co-founder Mateen became ‘verbally controlling and abusive’ after their on-off on romance ended, and that she was called a ‘slut’ and a ‘liar’. The case was settled by Tinder.

The fall-out from that legal battle drove workaholic Mrs Wolfe Herd – who says she wakes up every two hours in the night to check her emails – to create Bumble with the tag line ‘by women, for women’.

The app only allows female members to make the first approach to prospective dates, and promotes itself as a place where women are safe and empowered, and where harassment is rigorously policed.

Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd, pictured with her husband Michael Herd, hosted her lavish 30th birthday party in Capri, Italy

Mrs Wolfe Herd regularly showcases her opulent lifestyle on Instagram where she boasts 152,000 followers. She is pictured at her 30th birthday party in Capri while pregnant

In 2019, Blackstone paid about $3 billion to acquire a majority stake in MagicLab, which owned the Bumble and Badoo apps at the time, from founder Andrey Andreev. Mrs Wolfe Herd was named Bumble’s chief executive officer after the deal. 

Mrs Wolfe Herd is now married to Texas oil heir Michael Herd, has a one-year-old son called Bobby Lee Herd II and enjoys an luxury jet set lifestyle which she shares with her 143,000 followers on Instagram.

Pre-coronavirus highlights included her luxurious 30th birthday party in Capri, Italy, where she was pictured wearing a custom Giambattista Valli dress estimated to be worth $10,000.

She married her husband in opulent fashion in Italy’s Positano back in 2017 and her bevy of A-list friends, including Priyanka Chopra and Serena Williams, have become involved in Bumble.

Mrs Wolfe Herd’s firm celebrated a stellar first-day trading performance on Wall Street, with shares soaring nearly 80 per cent on their stock market debut.

Wolfe Herd also has a bevy of A-list friends who have become involved in Bumble, including Priyanka Chopra. They are pictured at Bumble’s India launch party at Soho House in Mumbai

Shares started trading at $76 on the Nasdaq – considerably higher than the $43 which the company had sold shares to public investors the night before.

Bumble operates two major apps, Bumble and Badoo, which touts over 40 million monthly active users worldwide.

Bumble plans to use the $2.2 billion proceeds from the IPO to pay off debt, fund international growth, and pursue acquisitions.

Wolfe Herd took to Instagram to mark the occasion, writing: ‘Anyone going through a setback, low point, or rough patch.

‘To anyone who feels disempowered in their relationships — or who’s had the courage to make the first move into healthier ones. Today is for you. This is the outcome of starting over again when it feels like the end.

She married her husband, a restaurateur who is also an heir to a Texan oil company, in an opulent fashion in Italy’s Positano back in 2017

‘It’s a testament to new beginnings, new paradigms, and new norms. Today has shown that barriers can be broken when we believe in a better way.

‘@Bumble is the outcome of a fiercely dedicated team who’ve worked tremendously hard to show that women can, should, and will make the first move.

‘When relationships are better for women, they’re better for everyone.’

Mrs Wolfe Herd was born in Salt Lake City – and lived in Paris as a child when her parents took a sabbatical in Paris.

She studied international relations at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, did a foreign exchange program for one year at the Sorbonne in Paris and was a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority.

Mrs Wolfe Herd initially joined the company Hatch Labs before moving to the development team for Tinder.

She was reportedly behind the name of the app, taking inspiration from the flame logo. She has also been credited with fuelling its popularity on college campuses. 

It comes as companies revealed workers are likely to be back in the office from September. 

Google wants to bring its staff back to the office full-time, with employees working from home for more than 14 days a year having to apply to do so from September 1.

Meanwhile, fellow tech giant Apple has planned a hybrid structure and Twitter said its staff will be allowed to work from home for the foreseeable future.  

Who is Whitney Wolfe Herd? The Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority sister who founded a women-centred dating app and became a billionaire aged 31

Whitney Wolfe Herd founded Bumble the same year she sued her former colleague for sexual discrimination and harassment.

The mother-of-one was one of five co-founders of Tinder, but quit the start-up company in 2014 and sued fellow partners Sean Rad and her ex-lover Justin Mateen for sexual harassment.

This year she rang the Nasdaq bell with her 18-month-old baby son in her arms and addressed the crowd saying she wanted to make the internet a ‘kinder, more accountable place’.

At Tinder, Mrs Wolfe Herd claimed her co-founder Mateen became ‘verbally controlling and abusive’ after their on-off on romance ended, and that she was called a ‘slut’ and a ‘liar’. The case was settled by Tinder.

The fall-out from that legal battle drove workaholic Mrs Wolfe Herd – who says she wakes up every two hours in the night to check her emails – to create Bumble with the tag line ‘by women, for women’.

By 2014, she was named one of Business Insider’s 30 Most Important Women Under 30 In Tech and in 2016, she was named as one of Elle’s Women in Tech. 

In March 2019, Wolfe Herd testified before the Texas House Criminal Jurisprudence committee about the prevalence of unsolicited explicit photos sent to female users on dating apps. 

Mrs Wolfe Herd is pictured with her husband Michael Herd on their honeymoon at the luxury The Brando resort in French Polynesia

The IPO puts Wolfe Herd into a very rare club of female billionaires. While women make up about half of the global population, self-made women account for fewer than 5 per cent of the world’s 500 biggest fortunes. 

She met her husband while skiing in 2013 and had a three-day wedding on Italy’s Amalfi Coast in 2017.

In December 2019, the couple announced the birth of their first child.

Wolfe Herd announced new parental benefits for Bumble employees in 2019, including bonuses, paid leave, and flexible start times. 

A self-confessed workaholic, she has claimed to wake up every two hours during the night to check her inbox. ‘I’m trying to stop that,’ she said in 2017. ‘I get no downtime.’

In 2018, the Bumble dating app CEO revealed she travels with a team of bodyguards after neo-Nazis posted her – and other employees’ – contact details online. 

In an interview with British newspaper The Times, CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd explained how the FBI had to step in after a neo-Nazi organization posted the contact details for herself and multiple other staff members to encourage their followers to harass them. 

‘We’re a feminist company so we came under attack,’ Whitney told the newspaper. ‘Faces and phone numbers were put on a neo-Nazi website that the FBI subsequently took down.’

‘The post was a call to action to bring down the feminists of Bumble,’ the CEO continued. 

The 31-year-old helped launch the dating app with the backing of Russian online dating tycoon Andrey Andreev. 

Wolfe Herd was forced to defend Andreev in 2019 following allegations published in Forbes that he oversees a misogynistic and sleazy culture within Bumble’s parent company, Badoo.

Wolfe Herd and Andreev have both shared photos of each other vacationing in Aspen, Colorado and on a Texas ranch (pictured above)

Among the explosive allegations made by former staffers were that the objectification of women was routine and there were cocaine and ketamine-fueled parties with prostitutes in the office. 

Mr Andreev and Badoo denied the allegations in the Forbes story at the time it was published.

An independent third-party investigation of the allegations made in the Forbes story found ‘a lack of credible evidence’ to the majority of the allegations and concluded there was no misogynistic atmosphere at Badoo. 

The claims posed somewhat of a problem for Mrs Wolfe Herd and Bumble given the dating app prides itself on empowering women and giving them a safer environment by letting them make the first move.  

‘He’s become my family and one of my best friends,’ she said of Andreev in a statement at the time.

‘What I’ve seen firsthand from Andrey is creative and motivating behaviour. Andrey has never been anything but kind and respectful to me.’ 

In a statement to DailyMail.com at the time, Mrs Wolfe Herd said she was ‘mortified by the allegations’ and that she learned of the majority of them only when they were published by Forbes.

‘All of us at Bumble are mortified by the allegations about Badoo (Bumble’s majority owner) from the years before Bumble was born, as chronicled in the Forbes story. I am saddened and sickened to hear that anyone, of any gender, would ever be made to feel marginalized or mistreated in any capacity at their workplace,’ she said.

Among Mrs Wolfe Herd’s A-list friends who have become involved in Bumble include Nicky Hilton

Fashion designer Rachel Zoe, Mrs Wolfe Herd and Armie Hammer’s wife Elizabeth Chambers are pictured above together in Aspen, Colorado in February 2019 

‘From my time speaking with the reporter, I was only able to share my personal experiences, which have been nothing but positive and respectful, ranging from 2014, before Bumble existed, and during the 5 years since. To this day, we at Bumble have never seen or heard of any of this behavior from any team members, and if we had we would have never tolerated it.

‘However, I would never challenge someone’s feelings or experiences. I offered to the reporter to extend my contact info to anyone who felt their experience was negative and said I would be an ally and open ear to them. 

‘That offer still stands. As a woman who has been through dark times, please know that I am deeply sorry for anything that could have taken place that made anyone feel uncomfortable before my time building Bumble. 

On Instagram, Wolfe Herd shares her extensive travels. In 2018, she travelled to Jodphur, India for a friend’s wedding 

‘And know that I feel personally responsible by association for the well-being of each and every team member in the group, regardless of what company or what office around the world, from the past or the present.’ 

Andreev contacted Mrs Wolfe Herd following her settlement from Tinder and suggested they collaborate.

It was Andreev who pushed for a woman-driven dating app despite Mrs Wolfe Herd’s plans for a social network. Mrs Wolfe Herd was behind the idea for women to call the shots and the fact they have 24 hours to initiate conversation before the match expires.

Andreev provided the infrastructure for Bumble – including development and engineering via his London office. Bumble’s headquarters are in Austin, Texas, where Mrs Wolfe Herd is based.

In the early days of Bumble, Wolfe Herd is believed to have flown between London and Austin 15 times in just four months. 

In the years following Bumble’s success and rise to become the number two dating app in the U.S. – behind Tinder – Wolfe Herd has continued her jet-setting lifestyle.  

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