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Can a company innovate without working its employees to death?

In the summer of 1994, Jaap Haartsen started worked on what would become a ubiquitous and essential technology — Bluetooth. The 31-year-old Dutch engineer was living in Sweden and working for Ericsson…

…Haartsen’s story is a curious one amid a debate over the modern, white-collar workplace following a New York Times story detailing a brutal culture at Amazon.

A big question is, does the price of innovation require a workload that is destined to leave employees unhappy with their work-life balance?

…“For innovators, they may not really notice all this pressure around long hours and harsh circumstances, because they just frickin’ dig what they do,” said Luis Solis, the North America president for Imaginatik, which consults on innovation. “A lot of people in innovation are sustainers or are basically, essentially good, normal people who aren’t going to work to create something new every day. For them it’s really stressful and it’s high pressure and it’s maybe not a whole lot of fun.” …

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