April 6, 2013
A few days ago, I was talking with a friend about “startup culture” and how tangible perks offered by many as recruiting and retainment incentives tend to define that culture. Startups of all stages often flaunt benefits such as catered lunches, gym memberships (sometimes gyms in the office), commuter reimbursement, etc.
While these lures are great, they should not drive the way of life at a company. It boils down to “work-life balance.”
Work-life balance is a term that promotes separation and prioritization. Most employers, unfortunately, expect to find your own work-life balance around the context of your job. In the current age, work-life balance is also harder to define. Technology quickly blurs a line that previously was easy to define. We are often expected to constantly be in touch with our colleagues via email, ready to jump on the nearest computer at the employer’s whim.
Work-life balance is nearly impossible to achieve, especially when you work for something you believe in. Life will always be in chaos when you love your family and your work.
Due to the complex nature of the modern career, work-life balance is something that I believe no longer applies.
In this era, there is a better term for such an idea: quality of life.
We need a work environment that enables you to maintain a positive quality of life. I want to be able to get inspiration for a work problem at midnight without worrying about coming in on time the next morning. I want to be able to visit my nephew’s last-minute cello recital in the afternoon during without worrying about half days or sick days. It starts with employer trust. Trust the employee you hired to get results instead of judging their hours. If the employee isn’t able to deliver on the results you hired them for, you have a different problem on your hands. Working long hours doesn’t get you great results. Getting great results gets you great results.
Quality of life transcends the job and the personal life.
Work environments that help promote a great quality of life should be the new normal.