Leadership   //   May 13, 2024

‘It’s made me more intentional’: A day in the life of a hybrid CEO

Mike Seckler is a two-time entrepreneur and tech startup founder who led a startup through the dot com boom and bust, and now leads the charge as the CEO of HR tech company focused on uplifting small businesses, Justworks. 

Despite that experience, there is a new variable at play in the modern workplace, that remains a challenge for most leaders and requires constant iteration: the hybrid workforce.

Justworks operates on a hybrid schedule, with the busiest office days being mid-week, which means a new routine for Seckler today that balances being in-office and being on the ground with customers – CEOs of small businesses. 

He meets with at least 10 CEOs per month from Justworks’ customer base to hear directly what challenges they’re having and what tools and resources they’re looking for to enhance and personalize customer service and foster long-term customer relationships. 

But the energy to tackle every day starts in the morning when he kicks things off with a workout and a solid breakfast. 

Bright and early

As the CEO trope goes, Seckler is up at the crack of dawn, around 5:30 a.m. He starts his day with a workout, either with a trainer or at home on his exercise bike.

“I feel like it’s medicine for the mind,” said Seckler. “If I skip that, I can be in a different mindset the whole day, but if I can just get that heart rate up for a half hour, then the whole rest of the day I seem to be better for everyone. My energy level impacts the company’s energy level. If I’m anxious or tired, the company has a certain feel, but if I’m upbeat and able to think through things clearly, the company seems to do the same thing.” 

Then he has a quick breakfast with his daughters, where a large cup of joe is always in order. “That’s the only constant,” said Seckler. He takes his Portuguese water dog, Ace, for a walk, and then leaves his Upper West Side apartment for Justworks’ downtown office via subway.

At the office, every day is different. On the days when he sees a trainer, by the time he gets to the office, it will be full. He grabs a second coffee and opens his computer to look at any data from the previous day about how the small businesses they serve are doing. On other days, he is the first one in, and preps for any meetings on his agenda, including the leadership team meetings on Thursdays and Mondays.

The hybrid office experience

Seckler goes into the office four days a week, even though Justworks’ employees have different hybrid schedules that are decided with the team agreement model where different teams go in on different frequencies. The baseline is that folks are together at least once a week, although some teams are at the office three or four times a week.

“I like to come in a lot,” said Seckler. “It’s good for me to have the separation. I spend time with family, then I go to work and my mind gets into work mode. Then when I come home, my mind is able to transition to be super present with my family when I get home. That works for me, but I know different people have different preferences.”

And it’s paid off for employees too, where there is still a level of human interaction among employees that allows for better adaptability, innovation, and easier onboarding.

Tuesday and Thursday are the hot office days, where most cross-team meetings are happening. He can always count on a lot of people being in on those days, as many as around 800 people, he estimates. Justworks also has offices in Toronto, Mexico City, Tampa, and London that operate on a hybrid schedule as well.

It required a bit of relearning for Seckler. 

“The hardest thing was growing up in a world that was more in the office every day and building certain muscles around that, which was relying on the ability to walk the halls to being in touch with how people are doing and different teams are doing,” said Seckler.

But Justworks is also a growing company with 1,500 employees, where it’s nearly impossible to get a pulse on how everyone is doing even if everyone is in the same four walls. 

“It has sometimes made things more challenging, but it’s just made me more intentional about looking at the calendar and saying ‘OK, here’s a team I’m not feeling as connected with, I’m going to show up for their next road mapping discussion,’” said Seckler. “But people are still people. They want balance in their lives and want to show up for their family when their family needs them.”


Seckler sometimes pops outside the downtown office for a walk or will remain in the building in one of the comfortable common areas. “I can have little interactions with 20 people and see how different teams are doing,” he said.

On other days he travels to see customers and will have lunches CEOs who use the Justworks services. One of his personal goals is to have a deep conversation with another CEO at least once a week, or 10 a month.

Travel varies at different times of the year, but usually, the middle months are easier for him to be out of the office. This time of the year, in May, it’s a popular time in the tech community where venture firms will have CEO gatherings. He’s often in attendance.

“So a lot of the folks who attend these meetings are our customers, or should be our customers,” said Seckler. “By going there, I can learn about how people are running their businesses, but also how we’re doing as a company and how some of our competitors are doing because some of the folks are using other solutions.”

A long day

At 7 p.m. Seckler likes to be home. During the week, he admits things can be all over the place between work and family, with daughters doing sports, homework, and more. But if he can be home for family dinner, he tries to. 

After a yummy meal (whoever gets home first between him and his wife is who cooks it), he takes Ace for a walk, dives into some reading, and that’s the day. He has two books on his nightstand currently: “Unreasonable Hospitality: The Remarkable Power of Giving People More Than They Expect,” by Will Guidara, which was highlighted in Hulu’s series The Bear, and “Leviathan Wakes,” a science fiction novel by James S. A. Corey. The latter Seckler describes as “far out and great,” especially when trying to get his mind off the day.

Weekends are centered around kid’s sports, a big Sunday dinner, and spending time outdoors. A major in Geology, Seckler appreciates as much time as he can get outside and is an Appalachian Ridge Runner. That’s a role that gets him out into nature regularly and involves greeting and guiding other hikers walking the trail.

Sunday dinner is a big deal in Seckler’s house and prep for it can start as early as Thursday morning when Seckler makes homemade sourdough to accompany it, based on San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery’s recipe.

“That’s the family favorite right now,” said Seckler.