As we’ve discussed on the blog before, The Opportunity Lab team is small and flexible in our working styles. More often than not, at least one of us is working remotely throughout the week. We’re able to continue functioning as a team fairly easily, given the technology available to us. Many of the challenges to working remotely have been solved with the ability to effectively video conference and to collaborate in real time on working documents. However, more pervasive challenges still exist for remote teams and all employees in the world of 24/7 connectivity and access to endless information. The biggest questions left to consider are:
1. How do we remain focused on our goals?
2. How do we prevent burnout in ourselves and our employees?
These questions are particularly challenging in the world of entrepreneurship, an environment familiar to the OppLab team in our innovative co-working space. Entrepreneurs have never been known as people who often prioritize a work-life balance, particularly in the early stages of a new project. The temptation to continuously work harder and investigate different directions can distract from the original intention of the organization and lead to burnout in even in the most enthusiastic start-up worker. In fact, the Harvard Business Review writes that, according to psychiatrist Edward Hallowell, the modern workplace can induce an “attention deficit trait” or, at least, can lead to “continuous partial attention” as we work through piles of emails and websites during each workday.
Much of OppLab’s tools and processes help our clients to uncover and to clarify the goals and objectives of a team or company. This approach can be a powerful antidote to the inundation of information and ideas that can derail projects from ever reaching their intended endpoint. The abilities to filter relevant information, to focus on the chosen goal, and to do so in an intentional way are all critical to the success of a new entrepreneur.
As well as interfering with productivity, this inability to focus can contribute to occupational burnout even for the most committed start-up junkie. Along with our efforts to help employees identify their professional goals and create a plan to achieve them, OppLab’s tools place equal emphasis on the need for introspection, the intentional pursuit of personal fulfillment, and the marriage of these with organizational values and goals. In fact, a mismatch in individual values with organizational values is one of the major contributors to occupational burnout, according to the Mayo Clinic.
With this values-based approach to defining what work-life balance means for each person, we build a solid foundation beyond that of a brilliant business plan and identifying an extensive professional network. Developing a rewarding personal life can be an effective firewall to the threat of professional burnout and help you to focus on the best way to intentionally pursue your organization’s goals.