Hustling is no way to run a company

It’s hard to pinpoint a single company that made hustle culture the glamorized, glorified idol it is today.  But it’s easy to see how pervasive the mindset is with the US coming in as the most overworked nation in the developed world.1

So what evidence do businesses have that hustle culture is a good way to run a business?

Absolutely none.

That’s right.  There is zero evidence to back the claim that creating a cut-throat culture in which work is valued above all things is a good way to get results, to grow your business or to make shareholders happy.  

In fact, we find a lot of research supporting the opposite.  Hustle culture pressures people to work longer hours and multi-task often, which is shown to lower productivity and kill creativity, not to mention mental health.2  Managers that are trained in the hustle culture are taught to inspect not for value, but for busy-ness, which not only delays critical projects and stalls innovation, but also breeds toxicity into the culture as team members are taught to judge those that aren’t busy enough or burning quite enough midnight oil.  Micromanagement at this scale ends up costing businesses in the form of churned customers, employee attrition and a failure to innovate fast enough to gain a competitive advantage.3,4

So how do organizations work to fix this?

It starts by deciding you want your culture to be different and making it so.  Not by posting new values on your wall that everyone ignores, but by modeling new behavior that shows the people in your organization that it’s not only okay to live a great life outside of work, but that it’s necessary.  

This means no longer celebrating work that could only be accomplished by burning the midnight oil.  It means showing your team members that life comes first by putting your own life first.  It means no more emails while you’re on PTO.  It means no more work meetings during family dinner, even if they’re “important.”  And it means giving people permission to think bigger than work. 

Positive cultures where people thrive are possible.  These are the cultures that make sure business thrives too.  It’s a win-win and it’s the future of work living.