I’ve been doing a lot of research lately on work/life balance and how companies are starting to see the need for flexibility in the work place when it comes to either telecommuting partials days of the week, working from home completely and other creative approaches.
What is Work/Life Balance?
“Work+life flexibility” definition: Having flexibility in when, where and how you work. It allows you to flexibly allocate time and energy between your work life and personal life.
It’s been decided among those in this industry that the term “balance” really should be replaced with “fit” (work/life/fit) because we all have different family needs. Some are working while taking care of a newborn, some are now among the million sandwich generation who are taking care of children and aging parents, some are working towards retirement – just to name a couple and we all have different situations. In seeing the diversity of family issues specialist are now replacing balance with “fit” because it is crucial to have a flexible arrangement in fitting it in to our specific areas of need.
Why should companies consider offering flexible work arrangements?
Without work+life flexibility business suffers:
− Health is affected—you’re stressed or lack time for exercise 48%
− Morale is affected—you don’t feel good about working at your company or organization 41%
− Productivity is affected—you can’t get your work done as fast as you like 36%
− Focus and attention, or engagement is affected—you can’t concentrate the way you would like to on your work 34%
− 65% of employees looking for new jobs wanted more/better flexibility (only 8% looking to reduce hours and pay)
I just returned from four days in Vegas at the Global Society for Human Resource Management conference and it seems that this was one of the main thrust of the conference. I was surprised to hear this brought up in most of the sessions I attended; either in regard to older workers in the workplace and generational diversity or work/life/flex. Actually, even in the main keynote sessions, most of them addressed flexible working applications and even stated that the US was behind on these matters as most other countries have already begun to adapt various changes in their work environments.
In our misconceptions in regard to this matter we have thought work/life/flex to be a perk or benefit in the workplace, when in reality it is becoming crucial to our workplace productivity and is becoming a growing trend in most workplaces, even and especially during a tough economic time. It should not be looked at as a perk or benefit but a strategy for businesses that can improve health, morale, and productivity.
What can you do to learn more about work/life/flex? Check out Cali Yost’s book Work + Life. It’s great because it not only deals with this from an employer’s prospective but mainly targets employee’s on how to approach this strategy with their employer’s and /or when looking for a new career.
Hey, check out an article I wrote entitled “Taking Fido to Work” – what one company has implemented for their employees.