by CIO Staff

Work-Life Balance: Watching Firework Competition Promotes New Ideas

Aug 08, 20053 mins

For stressed and overworked businesspeople, finding a brief relief can be very healthy. We’re not talking about a coffee break or routine vacation. Instead, this is a relatively short but complete detachment from work or even thoughts of work.

We recently attended the international fireworks competition held at La Ronde, a Six Flags amusement park in Montreal. Over the course of seven weeks, some of the best fireworks companies from Australia, France, Argentina, Sweden, Spain, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Canada and the United States created and presented the best fireworks each had to offer.

One by one, the competing countries had 30 minutes each to try for the gold, silver or bronze trophy. (Argentina won, followed by the U.S. and then Canada). During the fireworks, it was obvious that among the many thousands watching there were executives, managers, employees and, of course, families.

With each country presenting their best, all eyes were in the sky for the full half hour. Basically, spectators were dazzled by the displays coupled with synchronized music, as they focused totally away from business of the day.

For these viewers, there was no work, no cell phone, no computer, no beeper and no voice mail. The world of work stopped for 30 magical minutes. People left smiling, feeling upbeat and positive.

Companies can provide similar moments for their employees. The typical large company’s annual meeting, with rousing music and moving videos, can move employees, making them at least for a moment feel a sense of pride of being part of the organization.

When the sincere chief executive talks to the troops and vividly paints a picture of his or her vision and ideas of where the business can go and what individuals can achieve can create other moments of detachment from the day-to-day grind. A great parade, a brilliant sports moment or a rousing concert all provide brief relief for those who are overworked (or overwhelmed) at the office.

Some companies already realize this and send key employees or managers to events such as the La Ronde fireworks. Some companies provide managers and employees tickets to sporting events, often to entertain important customers or clients.

No matter the intention, participating in such a brief relief event is good for the individual and ultimately good for the business. Thankful or recharged managers and employees come back to work feeling better, even if only for a relatively short period. They share their positive experience with those around them.

Participate in some total escapism, detachment from whatever plagues you most at work. Whether it be closing out the quarter on a more positive note or just taking a break from so many hours focused on work.

Every once in a while, everyone at work needs a brief relief moment. The savvy manager today makes a point of taking one as well as providing one for others.