Monday, August 17, 2015

Work/LIfe Balance

You can't help but to have heard this term before. The tech industry is showing both sides of this cultural spectrum, with Netflix offering unlimited maternity time-off for both the mother and father on one side and Amazon pushing their associates to their limits on the other. Work-Live-Play complexes are sprouting up everywhere.

The operative word here is "balance". Managing a company strictly by data eliminates humanity. Too much flexibility and productivity can suffer. Every humans' needs are different. As I have mentioned in a previous blog, management is responsible to learn what motivates their associates. So how do you create the perfect balance, when no two people are the same?

The basic factors:
  • Data - In business you must have measurements, financial and productivity
  • Competition - I believe that a certain level of competition is healthy among associates, as well as "constructive" conflict. This country was founded on free enterprise and has thrived on competition
  • Family or social life outside of work
  • Health - Physical, mental and financial

What's the magic formula for work/life balance? I don't think anyone has developed it, nor do I believe it exists. How can it exist, with so many factors? If I took the time to dig very deep, I could probably write a Doctorial treatise on the subject. This would take years of research on a constantly changing target, as society evolves and companies come and go. Not only are no two people the same; no two companies are the same.

The question that needs to be asked, when choosing a company culture, is, "How much does the company own you." You can state what a miserable workplace exists at Amazon, but they were just rated the most valuable retail company over Walmart. That doesn't mean you should work there. As a company, you may decide your most valuable assets, hopefully after your customers, are your associates.

Companies will continue to push associates. Associates will continue to push back. This is how change works.

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