All Work and No Play (1): The Balance That Works

photo: courtesy of

I often wonder if a “result-driven workplace” is synonymous with a hostile work environment where people and relationships do not matter as much (if at all) as the achievement of corporate goals

I wonder, is it possible to have a pleasant work environment and at the same time, achieve/surpass corporate goals? Or are they mutually exclusive?

My musings have led me to do some research, and consequently, I have been able to categorize organizations into 4 main types using a performance and work environment matrix.

Optimum Performance and Work Environment Matrix

First, there are the organizations which have managed to master finding the right balance between optimum performance and a “trust work environment” (Q1). Then there are the Q2 organizations, where work relationships do not necessarily matter as much as the achievement of corporate goals (i.e. where relationships are deemed inconsequential, and are sacrificed for the attainment of corporate goals). We also have Q3 organizations that pursue good work relationships/friendships at the expense of performance. Lastly, the Q4 organizations are those failing on both counts that is, performance as well as the ability to build and sustain good work relationships (this might be an extreme case of course).

What I find is that most companies exist within Q2 – Q4, with only a fraction striking that perfect balance.

In researching Fortune 100’s great places to work and combining same with the Fortune 100 companies, I observed a common theme in some of the practices employed by these Q1 organizations.

I have put together some of these practices that serve to foster a healthy balance. These practices (which shall be discussed in the next post) are premised on the fact that a sense of shared responsibility, mutual respect and a trust environment foster engagement, which ultimately result in high performance.

While Q1 might be challenging to achieve, it is by no means impossible.

*Photo: courtesy of*

4 thoughts on “All Work and No Play (1): The Balance That Works

  1. I think it all depends on what the company’s values are… Some focus on performance and don’t really care if the employee isn’t enjoying working there.
    One Q1 company should be Google 😍. different articles about them make it seem its all fun and games there…😏😁
    Nice Post as always

    • Thank you Damola for the thoughtful contribution, Sadly, some organizations do come across as not caring much about the quality of work relationships provided targets are surpassed. But do you really believe HR or the Team leads care less about relationships or could it possibly be a case of being in a rut and clueless as to how to get out of it? I’m at odds relating to this as well. Thankfully, there’re a way out for these companies. The next post will seek to give some insight into the ‘how’.

  2. This is an amazing blog. Gives loads of food for thought! Funnily enough I am trying to ascertain which category my workplace falls in. No doubt gets more complicated when various department are hem selves in different categories!

    Thanks for sharing
    Well said.

    • That’s such a valid point. Very insightful too. I understand what you mean by ‘various departments within the same organization being in different categories’. Totally correct. I have been in one of such departments before. I’m hoping my next post does justice to helping teams function in a more balanced fashion. Thank you for taking the time to post a comment Temidee. Best wishes

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