Is the amount of time somebody spends at the office indicative of the quality or quantity of the work they produce?

Not so long ago, offices were filled with people who were putting in face time, or “working” 18 hours days because that’s what it took to get ahead. But the question is, were they being productive during that time, or just spending time away from their families and lives (making them unhappier and less fulfilled) without really contributing much to the company’s bottom line?

Palo Alto Software CEO Sabrina Parson says she’d rather have employees who are passionate about what they do, but who don’t necessarily spend half their lives in the office.

“I want people who don’t get burnt out. I want people to have a life outside the company,”  she notes in this BusinessMakers Classic Minute video.

She adds that when employees aren’t chained to their desks and are able to pursue outside interests, they’re happier. And happier people are more productive people.

The trick is to hire people who actually care about what they do. As makers of online business planning software, Parsons’ company looks to hire people who are passionate about innovating and helping entrepreneurs. “I think that we’re getting a lot of their brain time, even when they’re off doing something else,” she says. “When you’re doing things you love, you’re brain’s still going, you’re still thinking.”

The take-away is that employees who are engaged with what they do and with your company’s mission are likely to be open to thinking about it when they’re hiking, or cooking dinner for their family, or knitting quilts. Great ideas happen anywhere, and happy employees who are encouraged to have lives are more likely to have those great ideas.

Basketball at work image courtesy of Shutterstock

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