Lab Notes

Productivity Starts With Balance

So, you’ve hired a team of hardworking and motivated individuals. The team stays busy and produces great work so why not load them up with more? Wouldn’t that be even better? We think not.

Overwork leads to burnout and lower productivity. That means, to entice the best talent and get their best work you need to actively plan with balance in mind.

Our office is rarely occupied on weekends or after 6pm on weekdays, but that’s not the sign of people slacking off. Our clients demand the very best, and when we are here, work gets done rapidly. Honestly, there’s never a dull moment.

But when we’re not in the office, we’re out in the world recording music, motorcycling across the country (though sometimes that counts as work), raising families, doing yoga, and running businesses on the side. Our core value of Balance enables those activities and those activities make us better at our work. Win-win.

The challenge of creating balance between work and life may seem impossible when we’re surrounded by a culture of overwork. So why spend valuable time and energy helping individuals create balance?

We need the best ideas, effort, and output from each person on our team and so we actively encourage people to take a break, go for a walk, or shut down for the day.

How We Practice Balance

Here are some concrete examples of how GoKart pushes for balance each and every day.

We make it explicit

Prospective new hires will hear “we want you to have a life outside GoKart”. And that’s not just lip service. Our planning tools bake in time to handle all those small personal tasks that help stay at the top of your game such as reading articles, having conversations with your coworkers, or even just letting your mind wander.

Each employee knows these activities are accessible within the context of their week and they use that time to create efficiency. We target 40-hour weeks for everyone and also tell people directly that we want them to use their time off each year.

We get creative

When we see that someone has 60 hours of work planned in a few weeks we don’t just accept that and tell them to clear their schedule. We challenge the team to find creative ways to share the load, get efficient, and/or adjust expectations.

We know that people are not at their most creative beyond hour 50 so we work hard to avoid those situations before they happen.

We expect individuals to own their week

We believe that each person on the team should take ownership over their work and their week. If a person sees that they don’t have enough time to complete a task, we expect them to speak up and help design a solution.

We trust each other to communicate any concerns or roadblocks in a timely manner and to be proactive about time off, working from home, and any other deviation from a standard work day.

Why You Should Choose Balance

The two biggest benefits from creating balance are lower turnover and higher productivity.

Win the Talent Game

Hiring managers can tell you all about the high cost of losing a talented employee. Some have even quantified the loss in great detail. Finding and hiring talent already presents steep challenges, so why squander the talent you hired?

Push your team out of balance too often with long hours, late nights, and impossible deadlines and they will start seeking greener pastures. But if you encourage and enable a person to enjoy their life outside work they’re more likely to arrive at work excited for new challenges.

Work Less, Accomplish More

Planning for balance also helps increase your team’s productivity. There’s a growing body of evidence that fewer hours means higher output per hour, not less. That alone should be an incentive to help your employees maintain a 40-hour work week.

And not only will they produce more in less time, but by limiting their time at work you promote rich life experiences outside work where your team learns new skills and broadens their perspectives.

Final thoughts

A balanced life and a balanced workload require intentional effort but that effort has the potential for both short- and long-term benefits to both individuals and teams. Plan for and encourage balance and your team will work faster, generate better ideas, and deliver their best work.

GoKart is a digital invention & growth lab named one of Inc’s Fastest Growing Private Companies in America.

To learn more about our services, contact us here: [email protected].

A puzzle solver by nature, Matthew enjoys diving into complex problems of all sorts. He empathizes and analyzes with a mix of infectious enthusiasm and deliberate sensitivity. His mission: to inspire and enable people to do their best work.

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