The announcement by Yahoo to end working from home has started a conversation about productivity and the work-life balance. A whole range of issues about time management, collocation, and productivity comes to mind—not to mention whether working from home causes one to sacrifice “speed and quality,” as mentioned in the memo. But another interesting question related to where we work is whether work is “work” or “fun.”
In the HBR (Harvard Business Review) Blog, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic discusses how phrases like "work-life imbalance" or "work-life synergy" only makes sense if you are not having fun at work and are working in a career you don’t enjoy. This is especially interesting in the context of agile teams. At the 2008 SD Best Practices conference, Brian Marick talked about the important role of joy in agile teams, an idea that makes a lot of sense to me.
According to an article in Fast Company, being happy at work is related to being happy at life. But that does not mean that being a workaholic is not the same thing as enjoying your work. By thinking about how you are spending your time while you are working, you might find more joy at work. Hopefully the fun part of your work day isn’t limited to watching amusing videos, even if they can improve productivity.
Some people look forward to being done with work and retiring; others, like Wisconson State Sen. Fred Risser of Wisconsin, don’t. Profiled on NPR, Sen. Risser explains that his job keeps him energized: “It’s the most frustrating job in the world, but it keeps the adrenalin going and it gets you up in the morning. You learn something new every day.”
What things stop you from enjoying your work? What are the fun parts of your work day? And what part does learning play in how much you enjoy work?
Steve Berczuk is an engineer and ScrumMaster at Humedica where he's helping to build next-generation SaaS-based clinical informatics applications. He is the author of Software Configuration Management Patterns: Effective Teamwork, Practical Integration, and has an M.S. in operations research from Stanford University and an S.B. in Electrical Engineering from MIT.