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Work-Life Balance: How The Leaders At One Web Development Firm Do It
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Work-Life Balance: How The Leaders At One Web Development Firm Do It - Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: How The Leaders At One Web Development Firm Do It

Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: How The Leaders At One Web Development Firm Do It

The concept of work-life balance encompasses a wide range of professional considerations; among them are flexible hours, health maintenance, and childcare, but Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, partners at web-application development firm 37signals, offer working away from the office as a sensible means toward that end. In their book Remote: Office Not Required (Crown Business, 2013), Fried and Hansson first make the case for allowing more employees to work from home, then offer practical organizational advice for implementing and managing a workplace made up of people contributing from different cities, countries, or even continents.

“Letting people work remotely is about promoting quality of life, about getting access to the best people wherever they are,” the authors assert. When people can work where and when they want, the daily stress of a commute is erased, the long-term stress of relocating because of a spouse's new job opportunity is erased, and all the medium-range stresses of juggling timelines and project management with familial and personal needs are addressed practically and with individuals' needs in mind.

Debunking many of the arguments against telecommuting, they argue that employees become more productive, not less productive, because (for one reason) they are away from the constant interruptions of the workplace, away the inefficiency of most meetings, and away from regular check-ups by managers who need to keep busy. The authors insist that “A busy office is like a food processor—it chops your day into tiny bits, fifteen minutes here, ten minutes there. Each segment is filled with a conference call, a meeting, another meeting, or some other institutionalized unnecessary interruption.”

Although Fried and Hansson acknowledge there are tradeoffs, they provide solutions that have enabled their company to lesson their impacts, including planned, in-person, all-staff meetings twice a year, online chat rooms provided solely as virtual water coolers for those non-work-related personal interactions, and employee-defined vacation times.

The work, they explain, is the only thing that matters, and when a company's only yardstick is the work, other considerations become trivialities. If you can't tell the difference between work produced by someone wearing sweatpants in a home office and work produced by someone wearing a suit in a cubicle, why should you care? And if the result is a happier, healthier staff you can hang onto, the case for increased working-at-home seems clear.

 

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Work-Life Balance: How The Leaders At One Web Development Firm Do It - Executive Leadership Articles

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