The Queen Of Online Media Wants You To Unplug

rachel-besserIllustrated by Austin Watts.
Arianna Huffington is no stranger to stress (as she told us recently, she once fainted from exhaustion and broke her cheekbone — talk about a wake-up call), which is why she launched The Third Metric, a HuffPo campaign that's aiming to promote the idea that well-being should be considered the third metric of success (next to the obvious, money and power). Huffington believes that the bottom line of any company can be improved by promoting the healthfulness of its employees; an idea that she explores in a recent HuffPo piece entitled "Burnout: The Disease of Our Generation."
To support her argument, Huffington references recent studies that have explored the productivity and revenue increases at companies committed to promoting a healthy office culture. Huffington argues that our current male-dominated workplace model promotes the idea that to be successful, one must be willing to potentially sacrifice one's health and/or personal life — a point that Huffington thinks is not only wrong, but dangerous to both employees and to the companies themselves.
All of this sounds great, of course, but it's difficult to see how Huffington's method would play out across a diverse range of office settings. On one hand, the Google program, which encourages employees to seek out and develop their hobbies, sounds like a great way for workers to unwind, while also potentially discovering hidden talents and increasing productivity. On the other hand, programs such as The Boston Consulting Group's policy, which gives new hires $10,000 to take six months to work for a nonprofit before starting new positions, sounds like a workplace unicorn.
As a notorious go-getter and a woman who likely understands that news does not only occur between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., we have a tough time seeing how a third metric is possible (especially for small companies or start-ups that are constantly fighting to stay in business). These are surely noble ideas, but the chasm between being connected 24-7 and, say, a world where work e-mail is turned off after-hours by our employers is wide. Our work culture is tied to technology, and technology doesn't go backward — and, depending on the industry, putting one's head in the sand could make it impossible to catch up. What say ye readers? Do you agree with Huffington, or do you think it's too late to truly implement a third metric? (The Huffington Post)

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