(yes…that’s actually my license plate )
Denmark is the happiest place on earth. It’s true. They work 37 hours a week on average and take their full 6 weeks of holiday. They bicycle everywhere (great for endorphins) and prioritize the family meal as something sacred.
Contrast this with the U.S. where the average work week is 46 hours and most of us don’t take all of our vacation. The Center for Economic and Policy Research calls the U.S. the No Vacation Nation. In a 2007 study, they determined that the U.S. is the only advanced economy in the world that doesn’t guarantee paid vacation for employees. That means you can work your 46 hours (or more) a week, and it’s considered a bonus to be given paid vacation time.
According to Dan Buettner, author of Blue Zones – a liberal work schedule leads to greater happiness overall. You can see his excellent Ted Talk here.
Some other happiness zappers – commuting. In a recent Princeton study, the #1 daily stressor is commuting, beating out housekeeping (!) In fact, a study from the Scandinavian Journal of Economics found that workers who commute 22 minutes each way would need to earn an additional 35 percent of their monthly wage to be as happy with their life as those who don’t commute.
Living in Washington, DC for over 15 years, I can tell you first hand that commuting can drastically lower your happiness levels, while raising your blood pressure and gas budget.
Working for Citrix, I don’t commute. My day starts with being able to get my family off on the right foot—so we’re not all running around like chickens with our heads cut off.
During what would be my morning commute, I can work-out (good for those endorphins).
During my conference calls, I can throw in a load of laundry and not have a pile of it waiting for me by week’s end. Instead, the focus is on my family.
During what would be a horrific evening commute time, I can have dinner on the table that doesn’t involve a square shaped cardboard box or a microwave. Do you know that families who eat dinner together are happier and better connected?
This summer I plan to take my 5 year old daughter to visit my parents in Nebraska for a week. I am not taking vacation hours, because I will be working. My company just happens to not care that it’s Nebraska vs. DC, or their main offices in Ft. Lauderdale and Silicon Valley. As long as I can connect to the Internet and my virtual desktop, I am good to go.
Don’t get me wrong…I work really hard, but my value is not measured in email time stamps. At Citrix, it’s not about punching the clock. It’s about your contribution to helping the business succeed. And, I think we’re on to something…have you seen our latest earnings report?
I have a global responsibility, which means that sometimes I’m on calls at 10 at night. Do I resent it? Does my husband give me cross-eyed looks from across the room? Absolutely not. My company gives me the flexibility I need to have balance in my life, so I will gladly give Citrix the flexibility they need to drive business.
I am a happier person, because I can work anywhere and from any device—including what can be pretty latent Nebraska bandwidth.
So, it seems appropriate that on Valentine’s Day, I come clean about my 4 year love affair with Citrix. Here’s a toast to their passion, endurance and commitment to making the world a better place—and me, a happier person.