MatchPace officially launched over a year ago, and we’ve had some great success working with organizations and individuals to optimize their pace at work so they can both work hard and live well. But for many people, the idea of creating a work environment that encourages focus and effectiveness so you can do important, meaningful work and achieve a healthy work-life integration sounds like a pipe dream.

We get it. If you’re one of those hanging in there with us but silently thinking “MatchPace isn’t all it’s cracked up to be,” you’re not alone!

I’ve heard that exact sentiment, or some version of it, quite a few times. Many people think MatchPace is a reasonable idea, and have tried some variation of it, but found it just didn’t work.

One person convinced her boss to let her work part-time. She tried to stay focused so she could stay on top of her work in fewer hours each day, but she couldn’t stop her colleagues from interrupting, walking into her office and staying past their welcome. Others work part-time but are asked time and again to come in on days they aren’t supposed to be in the office. A different woman convinced her boss to let her scale back her hours while keeping her full salary (woo hoo!), but she wasn’t able to keep up with the demands and expectations of her colleagues who continued to work 50+ hour workweeks.

That’s why the “match” in MatchPace is so important. If your pace doesn’t match the pace of your management and coworkers, it just won’t work. If your organization doesn’t have established guidelines and cultural values about boundaries and focus, of course “it” (the idea of MatchPace) won’t work.

Imagine blocking out your time so you can dedicate certain hours to meetings and others to deep focus work, but your coworkers don’t respect those boundaries and you’re dragged into meetings at all hours of the workday. Or what if you put boundaries in place so you can focus, get your work finished earlier and be fully present with your family, but the rest of your team bombards you with late-night last minute requests.

It’s clear why optimizing your pace just won’t work if your team isn’t running alongside you. (Or for those of you who hate running, imagine a rowing team: if one person is rowing too fast or too slow, they’ll be out of sync with the rest of the team. Everyone ends up frustrated and burned out at best, and resentful at worst.)

So what does a team working at the same pace look like? It requires a culture, from the top bosses to entry-level staff, that values focus and effectiveness and is willing to do the heavy lifting of changing both organizational and individual  habits and patterns that don’t help the team operate at their highest level. It requires boundaries that facilitate focus at work and allow team members to leave work (physically or virtually) and be fully present with other priorities. It rewards output and not just time clocked - especially if most of that time is wasted.

We’ll be talking more about some MatchPace “best practices,” but we want to know: have you tried to optimize your pace at work? Did your team choose to run alongside you, or was there friction? What burning questions do you have about how to make MatchPace work at your workplace?

We know from experience that MatchPace is all it’s cracked up to be - if it’s done right. And ultimately, the results are worth it.