Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Culture - "Work is Life Enhancing"

I had recently been reflecting that our 'work life balance' culture point wasn't quite right and that it should instead be 'work is life enhancing'.

The thought is 'work life balance' makes it sound like there are two parts to life:
1. Work which sucks and needs to be balanced by
2. Life which is good.

In contrast, what we're aiming for at Shoes of Prey is a work experience that is life enhancing, we enjoy it, it's inspiring, full of great colleagues and helps us achieve our life goals.

I ran this past the team and with a few tweaks to the description, we've adopted it!

The first slide below is our original culture point on this. The second slide is the new one.

You can see our original set of culture and value slides here.

Screen shot 2012-09-19 at 11.31.36 AM

Screen shot 2012-09-19 at 11.23.37 AM


  1. just one small pet-peeve michael - you didn't fix the run-on sentence in the sick leave dotpoint!

    How about:
    We take sick leave responsibly; we don't hold out and spread germs; we get better fast.


  2. Good point Jill, have updated our slide to correct this, thanks!

  3. This is something I've thought for years, and it's great to see it reflected in writing! I'd be interested in what (if any) discussion there was from the team about it.

    [Also glad you've fixed the run-on sentence :) ]

  4. Hi Angela, we had the chat about it over email and most people just responded to say they loved it. The one change we made based on team feedback was to include the last line: "We aim for a balance between all the fantastic parts of our life - work, family and personal." We thought it was still good to acknowledge balancing all the aspects of ones life, but that we aim to make them all, including work fantastic!

  5. Hey Michael,

    Forgive me for asking the hard questions, but you know I love this blog/what you do so if you don't mind, please indulge me :)

    Thanks for sharing this but I have a question for you. I personally (rightly or wrongly) quite often see certain things in life as a trade-off, i.e, it is hard to run a great start-up without sacrificing sometimes in the other areas of your life. For example, you've written at other times how you have pulled more than an 80 hour week and worked over Christmas etc. How do you account for this with respect to your slides on having a corporate culture aimed on balance? Do you think a 9-5pm level of commitment is sufficient?

    I often wish I didn't see the world in zero sum terms so I genuinely would love to hear your answer from a philosophical and practical standpoint.

    Thanks again for your amazing work!


    1. Hi Saf, my take is that if work is fun, inspiring and helps us achieve our life goals then it's ok to sometimes work longer hours when it's necessary. That said, it's not healthy to sustain 80 hour work weeks for long which is there the piece about striking a balance between work, family and personal life is still important.

  6. Well said. We have a similar view at my workplace, however I imagine its a culture much easier to maintain in small businesses than a large one.