Main image of article Is 'Work-Life Balance' in Tech a Myth?
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.