Work smarter, not harder - build a winning company in the long term

April 03, 2024/4 min min read
Work smarter, not harder
Image of Anna Gullstrand
Anna GullstrandCPCO

Work-life balance is one of those things that is an actual win-win-win situation. It is best for the individual, the company, and humanity.

However, many companies think that the only way to achieve high performance is to have their employees work extremely hard and many hours. Late e-mails, short deadlines, and weekend work are built into many cultures.

Why is that? Because it actually works. People do perform, you get much output, and you get some short-term results. But are you building a winning company in the long term? Nope. And that's the problem.

Instead, you are creating norms that will cause you much trouble later. Basically, you will end up dealing with symptoms such as:

  • Wrong and short-sighted decisions being piled up (stressed people make bad decisions).
  • Low levels of creativity and innovation (stressed people get tunnel vision and never lift their gaze).
  • Loss of High Performers (stressed people get burned out/have higher sick leave).
  • High employee turnover, resulting in disruption to the business and high recruitment costs (yep, stressed people quit after a while).
  • Not being able to recruit (Gen-Zs want high flexibility and healthy, sustainable work-life balance).

(Not to mention the negative impact stress, high workload, and "not having a life" have on people's lives.)

I believe the problem is that most companies frame work-life balance as a "well-being-thing" when, in fact, it is performance-related and can easily be connected to business impact (while also improving well-being).

I do see that most companies see the downside of poor well-being (but it is not enough to make them do things differently) but should instead look towards all the upsides—of working smarter and having employees with great mental fitness.

If we connect it to performance and business impact, things will start to happen.

The way to long-lasting high performance - working smart, not hard

At Mentimeter, we believe in the opposite and express our way of thinking through our core value, “Work Smart.” For us, working smart means:

1. Focus on a few things

There will always be 100 things you could do, and your job is to focus on what will have the highest impact.

2. Plan for the “important but not urgent” things

And avoid ending up in the hamster wheel where you only put out fires.

3. Do “good enough”

Building on the idea that when you did 20%, you already gained 80% of the impact.

4. X-yourself

Seeking a multiplying effect through automation, scaling, or building structure capital that others can use.

5. Be disciplined and intentional about how you spend your time

Plan your work and put the effort in.

6. Take care of yourself

Your emotional, physical and mental needs, at work and outside work.

We have discovered that when you limit time, you get more out of it. We clarify that we expect people to perform within a 40-hour workweek, using the working smart principles.

And it works.

Because when work time is limited, people start to care about how they spend their time.

And when work time is limited, people start reflecting on what they need in their lives to be happy.

Guess what - happy people perform better. 🤗

Working smart - in reality

So, how do we make this happen in reality?

  • By being explicit about it - in our recruitment process and our onboarding.
  • By reflecting on it in development talks, one-to-ones, and performance reviews.
  • By providing training.
  • By having senior leaders clearly act on it themself, being role models.

But primarily by having senior leaders talk about stress and workload: How is your workload? How is your stress level? How can I support you?

And by having senior leaders acknowledge stress symptoms early on, in themselves and others, and act on them.

Because even in an environment that honors work-life balance, this is a struggle. We operate in an industry where change is the only constant, competition is fierce, customer expectations are high, and opportunities are everywhere.

We recruit high performers with high ambitions, putting much pressure on themself.

The only solution is to keep the conversation going.

And connect work-life balance to business impact, where it belongs.

Sounds like something you’d be interested in? Feel free to reach out if you have any questions or check out our vacancies. Search Careers

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