“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
These famous words require no end quote, as the man who uttered them, and his whimsical outlook on life, have become an eternal point of reference for those who seek to take some time to relax.
Work-Life Balance Concepts
The concept of work-life, and work-rest balance, are perceived differently by companies around the world. Generally, a company’s outlook on the topic is determined by its geography. In China, the 996 rule dominates the corporate world. An employee is expected to work from 9 AM to 9 PM, six days a week. The fact that Chinese law caps work weeks at 44 hours of working time is regarded as more of a suggestion. Cheng Zheng, founder of the Chinese start-up DDD Online, blames the 996 rule on foreign competition, stating that it’s a necessity to stay relevant.
Move your desk globe about 90 degrees west and land in Italy, where companies take a two-hour break from 11:30 AM to 1:30 PM, in order to cook, and nap, at home. Completely opposite of the Chinese attitude.
Now, both 72-hour work weeks and 2-hour lunch breaks seem extremely foreign to those of us working in the North-American corporate world. However, there is a growing trend in workplace relaxation here at home as well.
Taking Friday’s off.
By working longer hours Monday through Thursday, some employees are encouraged by some firms to follow in the footsteps of Mr. Bueller, and not come in on Fridays. The results of this method? Some companies have reported a 10% retention rate increase, others, increased productivity across the board.
Now, this method isn’t feasible for all types of businesses. Some, by virtue of their industry, need to be in the office all week. However, there are still other ways to gain some of these, “work hard, relax hard,” benefits.
Stimulating Creative Thinking Outside The Office
Predictive Success, for example, takes one summer day off a year to enjoy a sunny baseball game, some great food, and to connect as a team outside the office. Fittingly dubbed, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” the day is something to look forward to as a team and a time to talk about non-work topics, which eventually circle back around to some creative thinking about the exact opposite. Sometimes a team’s problems can be solved by not trying to solve them. Giving some time away from the desks, and away from the office, can actually be more beneficial than being in it.
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