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How Stanford and Silicon Valley companies are fostering “work-life integration”

How Stanford and Silicon Valley companies are fostering "work-life integration"

We’ve previously written on Scope about a Stanford program that allows medical school faculty members to earn credits for hours spent mentoring, serving on committees or helping out a colleague by taking on extra clinical hours. Under the new system, which was developed to help faculty balance their professional and personal lives, the credits can be used for various services ranging from housecleaning to grant-writing support.

A piece published this weekend in the New York Times takes a closer look at the program and similar employee-benefit policies introduced by Silicon Valley companies.

We’re trying to send a very strong message that the institution cares about you and about your life.

In the story, Hannah Valantine, MD, senior associate dean for diversity and leadership, comments on the motivation for implementing the program, saying, “If you’re coming home at the end of the day exhausted and you have a pile of cleaning to do, it’s the kind of things that leads rapidly to burnout, and burned-out physicians don’t give the best care… We’re trying to send a very strong message that the institution cares about you and about your life.”

The article go on to describe how Valantine and colleagues gained a deeper understanding of faculty members’ struggles to meet demands at work and home and how this led to the new program. It’s something, she notes, that emphasizes the notion of “work-life integration,” where work and home-life are blended rather than separated.

Previously: Stanford establishes ‘banking system’ to help faculty balance their professional and personal lives, School of Medicine opens outdoor workout facilityWorkplace stress and how it influences health and Generational differences in how physicians view work and life

One Response to “ How Stanford and Silicon Valley companies are fostering “work-life integration” ”

  1. Carolyn Thomas Says:

    Hi Lia,
    The concept of ‘work-life integration’ might just be a more realistic option than ‘work-life balance’, which, like the New York Times quotes the head of Evernote, may be unrealistic for Silicon Valley employees.

    Consider also the recent piece in Forbes quoting Mukund Mohan, a “Bangalore-based serial entrepreneur with roots in Silicon Valley”in an article called “Silicon Valley: Work-Life Balance is for Losers, Not Closers.” – http://www.forbes.com/sites/davidshaywitz/2012/10/08/silicon-valley-work-life-balance-is-for-losers-not-closers/

    The fact that the work-obsessed behaviours of those like Mohan are merely accepted – instead of being called out as the form of mental illness they apparently reveal – is telling.

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