Is ‘Work-Life Balance’ in Tech a Myth?

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There’s a cliché of tech professionals as hard-charging individuals, more than willing to give up food and sleep in order to more quickly build the latest bit of revolutionary software. The industry abounds with legendary figures such as Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who in his early days would pass out beside his desk rather than waste time going home to bed. But are tech pros really willing to live on energy drinks, and sleep on office couches, in order to get the job done?

For many, the answer is “no.” In response to a new Dice survey (PDF), only 5 percent of employees at technology companies said that work-life balance wasn’t a top priority for them. Contrast that with nearly 45 percent of respondents who said they wanted more of a work-life balance, even if their current position made that difficult.

More than 27 percent of those surveyed also characterized work-life balance in the tech industry as a “myth.”

At hard-charging startups with limited funding (and limited time to launch and iterate on their potentially world-changing product), long hours and hard work are usually baked right into the culture. But at firms with a greater degree of stability, work-life imbalance can lead to employees looking for more and better opportunities.

From an employee perspective, the quest for a more balanced lifestyle often means taking jobs with flexible hours, the option to telecommute, and similar perks. And that means, from an employer perspective, that jobs offering those sorts of benefits are more likely to attract key talent.

Image Credit: ronstik/Shutterstock.com

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2 Responses to “Is ‘Work-Life Balance’ in Tech a Myth?”

November 19, 2015 at 2:13 pm, Dave Davis said:

its more than 27% dont delute yourselves..

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November 26, 2015 at 7:20 am, Anonymous said:

In my 30 plus years of experience, excessive work hours tend to result form poor planning and preparation. Requirements have gaping holes. Estimates are not thought through well enough. We’ll figure it out as we go, or fly by the seat of our pants.

Of course, when competition tends to low ball cost and delivery time, many companies feel they have no choice but to do the same. But developing software still takes the hours it takes, hence you have to cram more uncompensated hours into a lower timeframe and cost.

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