Joe Biden’s memo to his staff about work life balance goes viral because its awesome
Reading a memo from your boss is usually as enjoyable as getting a bikini wax on the day before your period, especially when the subject of the memo is about taking time off for personal obligations like family birthdays or weddings. But there are bosses out there who think your life shouldn’t have to revolve around your job, and Vice President Joe Biden is one of them.
Vice President Biden sent a memo to his staff back in November of 2014 not chastising them for taking time off, but rather urging them to do so. He encouraged his staff to take time off for personal obligations and told them he would be disappointed if he found out anyone on his staff was working while missing important family responsibilities. The memo was recently published in Esquire and posted on Facebook by California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom where it quickly went viral.
“To my Wonderful Staff,” the letter reads,
“I would like to take a moment and make something clear to everyone. I do not expect nor do I want any of you to miss or sacrifice important family obligations for work. Family obligations include but are not limited to family birthdays, anniversaries, weddings, any religious ceremonies such as first communions and bar mitzvahs, graduations, and times of need such as illness or a loss in the family. This is very important to me. In fact, I will go so far as to say that if I find out that you are working with me while missing important family responsibilities, it will disappoint me greatly. This has been an unwritten rule since my days in the senate.
Thank you all for the hard work.”
Regardless of what political party you affiliate with, can we all agree how awesome this is? Everyone has family obligations and responsibilities outside of work. When you become a parent you have even more of these celebrations and ceremonies to balance with your work life. In a world where some employers see leaving work for family obligations as a sign that you’re not fully committed to your job, how refreshing is it for a boss to not only acknowledge that his employees have lives outside of work, but to encourage them to actually go spend time with the families they work so hard to support?
Americans work longer hours, vacation less and retire later than any other country in the industrialized world. And all this hard work isn’t paying off. Studies show happier employees are actually more productive. Not only is Biden’s policy of encouraging his staff to spend time with family just being a great boss, it’s likely to lead to employees that get more done in the hours when they are at work.
Bosses, take note — this is how you do it.