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Some businesses in San Francisco are listening closely to the needs of their employees while maximizing efficiency. Technology companies, for example, were pioneers in designing workspaces to fit the physical and emotional needs of their workers. This includes cafeterias with free food and coffee, gym and exercise rooms, meditation rooms, and oncall massage therapists.

Of course, tech companies' use of onsite facilities can be viewed as an attempt to stack the work/life balance deck, allowing people to spend more of their "life" at the workplace. In turn, employees in these companies need not ever leave the building — a clear productivity win for these companies.

But what of the small businesses, including family businesses, who cannot afford to provide high compensation or gourmet food to their employees? Family business entrepreneurs are especially at risk of stress and fatigue, since there is often no line drawn between “work hours” and “life hours.” For these companies, a creative approach to work/life balance could mean the difference between burnout and success.


Published in the San Francisco Business Times. This article is also online at

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