Here is an in-depth look at the work ethic, lifestyle, eating, and sleeping habits of employees and executives at Silicon Valley.
The American dream is built on the idea of freedom and equality that allows anyone to succeed through hard work and tenacity. Silicon Valley echoes this call with more emphasis on hard work over talent.
As Keith Rabois, the American Technology executive and investor, stated in a tweet recently, “It is pure arrogance to believe you can outsmart other talented people.”
Silicon Valley industry leaders and workers alike work for longer than 55 hours a week. They learn to accept it as a part of the road to success.
Despite the long working hours, Silicon Valley is the innovation and Startup hub of the world. They draw talent from all over the globe, encouraging young workers to fail fast, fail often, fail better, and fail forward. Their mantra being that failure helps you succeed and grow through hard taught lessons. They are bringing in young graduates to the exciting and innovative atmosphere in the hopes of achieving success quickly.
Living and working in Silicon Valley comes with a lot of pressure, and for many, the benefits are worth it.
The Growing Health Concerns For Silicon Valley Workers.
Many of the largest companies in Silicon Valley have made healthcare a priority for their employees. For example, Facebook has offered employees primary, urgent, online care, physical therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractor facilities as part of their health and wellness program. Aside from this, a new service called Care-a-van has begun in Silicon Valley. It offers mobile healthcare services like check-ups and vaccinations for workers, amid a rise in aging amongst silicon valley workers.
A survey showed that 75 percent of Caucasians, 82 percent of Asians, and 92 percent of Indians had a risk factor for diabetes or heart disease. Co-founder of care-a-van, Dr. Ronesh Sinha says, companies providing excellent health insurance, gym, and wellness programs, still have unhealthy workers. They are too busy to visit the doctor!
Most of his 30-year-old patients have the bodies of 50-year-olds with curved spines. The source of this problem lies in their working hours and the free high-carb and sugar refreshments that they have in the office pantry. And prolonged sitting in the wrong posture. napEazy can help correct bad posture and be used for power naps, reducing belly fat, heart disease, and diabetes.
Much of the problem stems from the work culture of Silicon Valley. Many arrive with the expectation that they would have to work 18 hours a day and accept it as a part of the intellectually stimulating, high-paying job they have.
Companies like Facebook and its health and wellness initiative see a 65% subscription, leaving it frequently overbooked. Suppose more people start making their health a priority in their busy lives. In that case, there is a high possibility of improving their well-being.
Nightmare traffic in the Bay Area
The Bay Area in California has some of the worst traffic in America, with commuters losing an average of 67 hours to traffic congestion. That is 60% higher than the nationwide average of 42 hours. San Francisco Metro area drivers lost an average of 78 hours in traffic, which translates to $1675 in productivity, fuel, wear and tear. In contrast, the rest of Silicon Valley lost $1400 in a year.
There have been several initiatives to tackle the growing traffic problem. EIT Digital’s DeepHack organized a hackathon to find a scalable, easily implemented solution.
Other solutions by Anna Kuhre, president of the San Mateo United Homeowners Association, involve rearranging workweeks. She suggests having 5% of the workforce of every company work night shifts and over the weekends - thereby reducing peak hour traffic and improving the situation around the Bay Area.
Company shuttles and carpooling services by Apple, Google, Electronic Arts, Yahoo, and eBay help the growing traffic problem. Still, not all top companies offer these services.
Is high engagement leading to burnout amongst the best and brightest?
A recent study by Harvard Business Review showed that 1 in every five employees in the U.S.A is at risk of burnout due to high engagement.
Most employees work extra hours, take fewer breaks, and work weekends. It’s an accepted part of the Silicon Valley work culture, and it’s rewarding people who continue to make such sacrifices. In contrast, those who attempt to achieve a balance have slower career growth. However, they managed to maintain their health and personal life well.
If both employees and employers work towards a work-life balance together, we will likely see more positive changes. Drive, determination, and a culture for innovation are all part of attracting thousands of talented people every year. With more focus on caring for employees, we are likely to see a more welcoming attitude.