Saturday, January 14, 2012

Sustainable pace at work and having a special needs child at home

Sustainable pace within software development teams has been discussed in depth for many years. I first came across it when I was introduced to eXtreme Programming in 2000. It's a sad state of affairs that we have to explain that knowledge workers perform better at a pace that isn't to fast and not too slow, but at an even cadence.

This isn't just good for productivity at work, but also for those of us with children with special needs. If you don't have a child with special needs you may not be familiar with the amount of stress parents are under. Firstly there's the stress just from the fact that your child has additional needs. Then there's dealing with the additional needs themselves. (In my case there's constant supervision, many sleepless nights, meltdowns, developmental delays, sensory issues, etc). In addition to this there are appointments and paperwork that needs to get done. There's also worrying about the future too. The list goes on.

We have all this and have to hold down a job. Working the occasional night or weekend is fine, but because a lot of us are so tired already this can't be maintained for long periods of time.

This is where sustainable pace comes in. It levels the playing ground between parents of children with additional needs and everyone else. We can come in on time and leave on time without feeling guilty or stressed, because everyone else is doing the same. It also lessens the risk of burn out or getting sick.

What are your thoughts on this issue?

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