Date posted: 05/06/2017 3 min read

Closing the gap between work and pleasure

How applying an unconventional management approach to the workplace can create a culture with benefits.

In brief

  • Visionary leader Richard Branson gives his team the freedom to make mistakes.
  • Applying an unconventional management approach could lead to a happier workforce.
  • Episode seven of the Acuity podcast investigates unconventional leadership with Semco CEO Ricardo Semler.

Closing the gap between work and pleasure shouldn’t be as difficult as it sounds.

The need to separate work and pleasure as two very distinct situational contexts is standing in the way of us being happy all of the time. Why is the proposition of being just as happy at work as you are away from work considered unconventional wisdom?   

Thinking about work during your downtime, can often lead to anxiety and stress, depending on your relationship with work. But what if you found a work context that made you feel the same way you feel at home? A place where you feel valued and free to go about the tasks you have been assigned in an autonomous manner that makes you feel trusted and confident.  

Entrepreneur Richard Branson is celebrated for applying his unconventional management style to his Virgin businesses to the extent that it enhanced his brand position and reputation. 

Branson's unique, unconventional management style attracts young talent and professionals who are excelling in their field who bring the organisation great success. Branson delegates responsibilities in a hands-off management approach where teams are given the freedom to make mistakes without being second-guessed.

Branson's website reflects the priority workplace culture holds within the organisation. The words "The most inspiring and forward-thinking workspaces" is featured prominently on the Virgin homepage. To inspire a team requires unique management approaches that motivate your workforce to produce quality work. This may involve letting go of control and placing more trust in your colleagues.

Being forward-thinking requires giving your team the space to think freely in an environment that provides what they need in order for them to be creative and innovative. And in his book The Virgin way: How to listen, learn, laugh and lead, Branson articulates how important it is to allow a team to make decisions.

Branson is renowned for finding brilliant people to run his businesses and has created a successful brand by letting go of control and approaching leadership in an unconventional way, that sits outside of conventional workplace structures. 

Branson's hands-off management approach means that he delegates almost all of his businesses to his team, and simply delves in as and when necessary.  “You’ll never have to think outside the box if you refuse to let anyone build one around you,” Branson says.

Get out of the box

How often have you sat at your desk waiting for the day to end so that you could start enjoying yourself away from work? 

Changing our perspective on how we feel about work can help close the gap between work and pleasure. 

Find an organisation that offers a management approach that suits your personality and aligns with your core values.  Take more control and lead your way into a happier work life.

Organisation's that apply unconventional wisdom are mindful of closing the gap between work and pleasure.

Flexible work conditions are becoming more and more common and businesses are offering flexible working arrangements that break down barriers and obstacles.

For example, If you are the type of person that works better in the morning, don't be afraid to approach your boss about changing the hours you work. Coming in at 8:00am and leaving at 4:30pm may suit you better than coming in an hour later and leaving an hour later. This may also help solve the post-lunch, afternoon slump.

Perhaps working from home one day a week will help close the gap between work and pleasure. The time you save on your commute to work can be put directly into the tasks that you don't have time for during your day. 

Rearranging the days you are at work and away from work - by working remotely - can help close that gap and at the same time create a more productive day. It's about you being aware of how you work and what conditions make you work better.

Take more control and close the gap between work and pleasure to create a routine that makes you happy every day.

Acuity podcast investigates unconventional wisdom with Ricardo Semler

To learn more about unconventional management styles and how these are applied in a conventional framework, listen to episode seven of the Acuity podcast, titled "Get out of the box and apply Wisdom".

In this episode, hosts Mike Lynch and Leigh Sujanto chat to Brazilian businessman Ricardo Semler, CEO of Semco, about how unconventional management styles can be applied to traditional company structures to build trust and commitment towards a shared desired outcome.

Semler says that conventional leadership styles he has encountered are killing an individual's desire to get up in the morning and go to work.

To hear more about Semler's experience sustaining a business through the transformation of management and leadership approaches, listen to episode seven of the Acuity podcast.

How to find our podcast

The Acuity podcast tackles the latest issues in economics, business and finance and is available to stream and download for free at

Bookmark the Acuity Soundcloud page to keep up to date with new episodes as they are published. Or, you can subscribe to the Acuity podcast in your preferred format to receive new episodes directly via your chosen channel.

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