Life-Work Balance: Big Theme Among MSPs

Burning out. Stretched thin. Feeling overwhelmed. Instead of worrying about their wallets, some managed service providers are starting to worry about their personal health and family well-being. During the HTG Peer Group meetings in Orlando this week, plenty of MSPs are talking about achieving a better life-work balance. Here's how they plan to do it.

More than 220 MSPs and VARs are attending the HTG Peer Group meetings. There, they break off into groups of 12 or so to discuss their business performance -- including all of their financial metrics.

Each attendee spends one hour presenting to the group, revealing quarterly financial results, EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization), profit margins, salary levels and so on. Peer group members then weigh in with constructive criticism and new ideas. Frankly, the financial talk didn't surprise me at all: Plenty of people previously told me that there are no financial secrets in these closed-door meetings.

The bigger surprise was the personal focus of each presentation. Most members kick off their presentations by describing their personal and family life. And there's a heavy emphasis on life-work balance (notice: It's not work-life balance).

Among the most interesting tips of the day: Peer group members have their spouses fill out a quick survey. On a scale of 1 to 10, spouses describe whether the peer group member is available for family activities,  able to unplug from work, etc. As I looked at the scorecards from some MSPs' spouses, I realized how out of balance my own life-work efforts are. Frankly, I don't know how my wife puts up with me sometimes.

So, I guess this blog entry is as much about me as it is about the MSP industry. We've all got to do a better job of keeping life in perspective. I will ask the HTG Peer Group team if they can send along that quick form that spouses fill out. I suspect the results will be a real eye-opener for most readers.

Ultimately, each peer group member shares roughly three goals for the next quarter. Some goals are financial. Others are far more personal. Many of the MSPs are talking about losing weight or unplugging from work at a set time each day. The big takeaway: If your business can't survive a few hours, a few days or a few weeks without you then perhaps it's time to rethink your business.

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