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How Vella keeps headcount low by using AI to protect 12.7 hours/week for focus time for office workers

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"With Reclaim I'm able to just be extremely productive, much more productive than I ever thought I could be. Every business in the world should use this tool."


hours/week for productive task work


hours/week for essential work routines


hours saved auto-scheduling meetings/week

Vella is a non-toxic and environmentally friendly housekeeping service startup specializing in residential and commercial cleaning solutions. Originally founded by Jeri Fritz in Dallas, Texas in 2009 – the family business got a rebrand in 2023 and brought on her sons Domenic and Kyle Massimilian. Today the Vella team is made up of 120 cleaning professionals and 12 office employees, priding itself on delivering top-notch services as the modern solution for a spotless home.

Vella Challenges

When Domenic and Kyle joined Jeri on the leadership team at Vella, they faced firsthand the scheduling challenges of a jam packed calendar – constant conflicting meetings, a lack of time for productive work, and mental fatigue from the demands of a growing company. 

As the Chief Operating Officer, Domenic found his weeks becoming increasingly busier as Vella expanded. At the height of his scheduling woes, the sheer number of meetings and tasks even led him to consider hiring an executive assistant to help manage his calendar.

Before adopting Reclaim, Domenic and his team relied inconsistently on tools like Calendly for scheduling meetings and Monday.com for project management. But without the structure of a clear, time-blocked plan for the week, his schedule still often became chaotic. The manual effort required to juggle multiple projects, a heavy meeting schedule, and team management became even more difficult as the company grew, leading to inefficiencies and increased work stress.

“An average workweek looks like building the business, leading strategy, and managing all operations systems, processes, and personnel. Before Reclaim, I wasn't really doing much time blocking. I used Calendly to schedule meetings but I always found that a bunch of things were getting left behind and I was just constantly spinning my wheels in terms of productivity.”

Managing dozens of projects and deadlines was also a major challenge for the Vella team. In the busy weeks, the team struggled to find enough time for productive, independent deep work. 

This lack of focus time resulted in important tasks often falling by the wayside, impacting overall company productivity and making it difficult to keep up with the demands of their expanding business. Without a reliable system for tracking and completing tasks, it was hard for Domenic and the team to keep up with their ambitious growth plans.

The expanding Vella team also struggled to find time for regular one-on-ones and team meetings as new urgencies were constantly popping up. These critical meetings often fell through the cracks due to scheduling challenges during busy weeks, leading to strained communication and a lack of alignment across the team. It became difficult to provide consistent feedback, address issues promptly, and maintain team morale, and hindered collaboration and strategic planning across the leadership team.. 

As the company scaled, managing operations, scheduling meetings, and maintaining the team’s productivity became increasingly difficult. Domenic recognized the need for a tool to help them better optimize their time management, prompting the search for a more efficient solution. 

How Vella defends more focus time & automates their internal meetings with AI at Reclaim

  • Auto-schedules time for task work on the calendar to boost productivity and hit deadlines
  • Automates internal meeting scheduling across recurring one-on-ones and team meetings
  • Tracks team productivity and wellness analytics to plan effectively and identify areas for improvement

While researching AI productivity tools to help enable his team, Domenic discovered Reclaim.

Reclaim is a smart calendar app that leverages AI-powered features to help teams automatically schedule flexible meetings, tasks, habits, and breaks around their existing calendar events. Today, the Vella team uses Reclaim’s scheduling solutions across operations, support, HR, marketing, and engineering departments.

Domestic realized Reclaim was the automated assistant he was looking for, automatically managing his schedule without the need to hire additional staff. 

Vella Clear started using Reclaim in August 2023, and quickly began expanding the AI app across the company to improve efficiency across their operations, support, HR, marketing, and engineering departments. The easy self-serve onboarding allowed the Vella team to immediately start auto-scheduling their calendars to balance task work and critical meetings. 

"With Reclaim I'm able to just be extremely productive, much more productive than I ever thought I could be. Once I saw the benefits, I just started onboarding everyone on the team to the platform and that's been awesome. It's been a huge game changer for me personally and for the business also.”

Since Reclaim, the Vella team has improved their productivity by automatically creating a clear, prioritized plan for each user every week. This automated time also brought structure and clarity to everyone’s schedules, ensuring that all important tasks and activities were accounted for.

One of the most impactful features they use is Tasks. The Vella team also syncs their task list right to Reclaim to schedule task time on the calendar around their existing events. Tasks are automatically scheduled for the amount of time they need, and before their due dates, so everyone has time protected to get stuff done. 

And by breaking larger projects into smaller, actionable steps, the team stays on top of deadlines and provides a clear roadmap for completing projects before they’re due.

“I can run more projects at the same time because juggling all the due dates, all I do is tell Reclaim I want this done by this due date, then I scope out how many hours I think it's going to take for each project, and turn those into tasks in Reclaim. I'm able to manage a lot more work at the same time and get everything done much faster.”

And to make time for their regular work routines outside of their task list, the Vella team also uses Habits to defend time for things  like monthly financial reporting, heads-down API work, and payroll review. This helps the team maintain consistency in their workflow and prevents these important routines from being overlooked.

Team collaboration has also improved at Vella with Smart Meetings, putting their one-on-ones and team meetings on auto-pilot. Instead of constantly canceling due to scheduling conflicts and going back-and-forth to coordinate meeting times, their internal meetings now automatically schedule at the best time for each team member. And these meetings auto-reschedule for them if a conflict comes up, so the team and leadership can stay informed, strategize, and address issues promptly.

“I have all these projects running all at the same time, I've got meetings auto-scheduling – now my calendar is perfect. Every minute is blocked with something, whether it's a meal, catching up on emails, or knocking out a project.”

Domenic also leverages People Analytics to track productivity and work-life balance trends across the company. Vella leadership can easily see how time is allocated across tasks, routines, meetings, and wellness activities so they can identify patterns and areas for improvement. This data-driven approach has empowered Domenic to optimize their workflows, enhance productivity, and ensure a healthier work-life balance for the entire team.

Vella results

  • Employees are able to protect 4.8 hours/week for productive task work
  • Employees auto-schedule 7.9 hours/week for essential work routines 
  • Employees save an average 2.4 hours auto-scheduling 10.4 internal recurring team meetings/week

With Reclaim, Domenic has empowered his team to defend more time for productive work every week without burning out. This has allowed Vella to maximize output while keeping overhead costs down, ensuring sustainable growth and operational success.

“As a scaling business, Reclaim is keeping our head count down because the more productive the team can be the less people we need to hire.”

The team is now able to easily juggle multiple projects and auto-schedule a realistic plan to meet their aggressive business deadlines – vital for maintaining momentum in these early stages. On average, each team member auto-schedules 9.7 tasks every week, creating an additional 4.8 hours/week for productive work around meetings. This prioritizes their most critical tasks for completion so the team always has the time they need to get work done.

The Vella team also schedules an average of 20.3 Habits/week for work across each member of their team, defending 7.9 more hours/week for their important work routines. This proactive time management approach helps the team stay organized, reduce stress, and balance new projects without neglecting necessary routine activities.

Between Tasks and work Habits, that’s 12.7 more hours/week that Vella team members are able to concentrate on productive work without distractions. This dedicated focus time is vital for completing complex tasks and achieving high-quality results that can often be neglected in busy teams. And most importantly, it allows their team to do more with the same amount of people so they can keep their headcount and personnel costs low.

And even with so many hours defended for independent work every week, the Vella team always has time prioritized to stay in touch in important meetings. Team members are able to effortlessly auto-schedule 10.4 weekly Smart Meetings on average, which has been particularly important for maintaining strong communication and oversight as the company scales. By automating their internal meetings, everyone gets back 2.4 hours/week that would have been spent manually coordinating times to connect.

Reclaim ensures that important one-on-one meetings and team sessions are scheduled around everyone’s schedule and conflicts, helping Domenic stay connected with his direct reports and the leadership team.

“I need to make sure I have these one-on-ones because they're super important. It's very tempting to ignore them this week because I have a billion other things to do, but having Reclaim move it around for me has really helped me stay connected with my direct reports. We also use Smart Meetings for group meetings, for example the leadership team meeting about fundraising, to make sure that we get that done on a regular basis.”

Domenic sums up the impact of Reclaim at Vella with high praise: “Reclaim is second only to maybe Stripe so we can take payments for services and literally my computer. If I didn’t have those, we wouldn’t be functioning. I love it. Every business in the world should use this tool.”



hours/week for productive task work


hours/week for essential work routines


hours saved auto-scheduling meetings/week