Thursday, June 10, 2010

Balance Thursdays: Does Less Stress Equal More Productivity?

Work/life balance. We all want it but how do we acheive it? Let me tell you about a little experiment we're trying in our office this month called Balance Thursdays.

I've been commuting to Toronto from Mississauga for longer than I care to mention. On a good day I can make the commute in 25 minutes. But the good days only happen about once a month. Normally the commute takes two to three times that long. And its not just me. Several people on my team have even worse commutes. Sound familiar? Something's gotta give.

I decided to try a little experiment to lighten the load. It started with an email:

Hi Team, We're going to implement a trial flextime day on Thursdays for the next few weeks. After a month we'll meet to evaluate how it's working. The goal is to free us up from the commute for one day a week. We'll communicate via IM, telephone and email as usual but we can choose to work remotely. This will create a little more time for work-life balance. You're an excellent team. I know you'll thrive in whatever environment you work from. Keep up the great work!
How's it working out so far? It's a smashing success! So far anyways. We acheived more placements this month than we've ever acheived in a one-month period in the eight year history of our company. I'm sure that our flexday experiment is not the only reason we just had our best month ever. But the flexday hasn't hurt our productivity. I've noticed a big improvement in team morale. Having a flexday near the end of the week creates some breathing space while we still remain fully engaged in our work (ideally). Does this make us more successful? Maybe. At least it puts me in better mood.

Am I writing this blog wearing Florida Gator boxers and a full-on beard? I'll never tell.

What are your work-life balance secrets? Do you think our experiment will work over the longterm?

Tim Collins, President and Founder,
Stafflink Solutions Ltd

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