Standing Up Against Work / Life Balance with Founder Barry O'Kane

  • by Austin Miller
  • Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Meet Barry O’Kane, founder of Endzone Software. Barry is a web developer, entrepreneur, traveler, student of life, and fierce opponent to the concept of work / life balance.

When he’s not working on the business, you’ll find Barry outdoors walking, hiking, paragliding or cycling (anything to get the release of team sport without as much wear and tear on the body… cause nobody’s getting any younger!).

Or you can find him wrapped up in a good business book…patiently waiting for the next story in his favourite science fiction anthology to be released.

any Iain M Banks readers out there? (photo credit)

Whatever he’s up to, Barry finds it hard to put what he does into rigid categories like ‘work’ or ‘life’. It’s much more nuanced than that. Think of it like furniture and a house. The house is the greater unit, with furniture being a piece of the larger whole. You wouldn’t try to create a furniture / house balance because the two are incomparable.

Work and life are the same. Life is the greater unit filled with unlimited elements, and work is just one of those elements (albeit a large one). Work is nuanced as well, and can’t be lumped into one category.

As Barry put it:

Work isn’t a single unit. Your work is made up of the tasks, the people, the environment, the rewards, it’s made up of all these pieces. Life is made up of similar pieces, the people, the place, the why, how you balance physical, spiritual, etc. Everything is made up of discrete elements. If you can have this feeling of wanting to be useful, it’s the same at work and at home. Some things are exclusively in work and not work, but it’s more shaded or gray.

Barry took this mindset to Endzone Software–understanding that work and life are intertwined and should complement each other–and structured the agency on three important pillars:

1. Lifestyle 

Since work is a part of life, we want our work to empower us, not make us miserable.

First off, we want to be happy, but we also want to put our best foot forward and deliver the finest in everything we do.

Working remotely helps us achieve this. It provides a lot of personal freedom like choosing where we live and building the daily lifestyle that we prefer. It also removes some in-office drawbacks–relocating, long commutes, disruptive work environments, etc–which can impede us from doing our best work.

As part of our life, we want to be around and work with people that are fun and inspiring. Being remote allows us to pull the best talent from around the world (our most recent team photo had 6 nationalities in it), which adds a rewarding splash of diversity and creativity that we appreciate.

Most important of all, part of our lifestyle involves impacting the world through our work…

2. Doing Good

At the risk of sounding extremely cheesy, a core mission of Endzone Software is to do something good. That’s part of our lifestyle–creating space in our lives to work on values driven, socially impactful work–and we do that through Happy Porch, the social value side of Endzone Software. But it’s not possible without profit.

3. Profit

Life isn't all about money, but we also can’t live the lifestyle that we prefer or work on exciting and impactful projects without running a profitable business.

Again, working remotely offers loads of benefits… we save on time and overhead, creating more leeway to do good things. And the challenges of running a remote agency forces us to constantly improve our internal operations (that is if we want to grow, provide increasingly more value to our clients, or take on greater world changing projects… all of which we want).

For Barry, it’s hard to separate his work / life thought process from the company. That's why he measures everything within the agency based on these three areas. Work is part of life, so we may as well measure everything we do based on the life we want to live.

How about your agency? Do you work to fund your life? Or does your work help shape your life? Let us know with a Tweet!

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