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“A multipurpose machine-human or corporate – is always going to be less efficient than one which is dedicated to a single purpose.”

Somewhere along the line, we were all sold on this concept of Work Life balance. This Zen-like state where the employee is crushing it at work while maintaining a healthy, happy and satisfying lifestyle. It’s a top priority for talented job seeking candidates and a frequently touted benefit by recruiters. There are countless studies extolling the health virtues as well.  It sounds great.  However, as this video from The School of Life points out, it’s a complete fantasy.  “As a general rule, no machine can be optimally efficient at more than one thing”. What does that mean? Well, it means that some side on the scale is going to suffer at some point. Those two goals will always be in constant competition. 

So let’s say we accept this principle; that - regardless of how hard they try - no one can be succeeding to their full potential at both work AND home. Any worthwhile talent will demand this consideration from their employer and no business can sacrifice its performance in order to keep its human assets happy and healthy. Companies can do a number of things to mitigate the potential harm to either party. They offer flexible schedules and implement tech that facilitates a more mobile workplace. A tech that fosters greater mobility is a great start. However, it can frequently result in the same problem of doing two things poorly instead of one thing well. Think of an employee watching his daughter’s school play. He’s in the audience on his work connected phone trying to troubleshoot an issue in the office. He’s not 100% engaged in work or his personal life and thereby doing two things poorly. It’s like a mathematical formula for mediocrity. Think of an amphibious vehicle. While it sounds great in theory, in reality, it’s a terrible car AND a terrible boat. In the words of Ron Swanson, “Never half-ass two things, whole ass one thing”.

Staff augmentation provides businesses with the opportunity to give a personal life back to its people while still achieving the goals that are essential to the business. Execution focused individuals operating from detailed documentation designed to produce identical outputs. We’ve designed and implemented teams for our clients to cover nights, weekends and even holidays. Returning those hours to the full-time workforce promotes health and well-being, fosters retention of the best talent, all while maintaining the standards and meeting the goals essential to the business.

There’s no single right answer and the only wrong answer is to neglect to recognize the problem and act.