'Work-Life Balance' Makes No Sense

'Work-Life Balance' Makes No Sense
From Recruiter - November 2, 2016

The term work-life balance is past its expiration date. It served its purpose by bringing to the forefront a conversation that needed to take place because of the all-consuming nature of work in our hyperconnected worldbut the discussion associated with it needs to evolve.

Work-life implies mutually exclusive choices. Life is an overarching umbrella comprising obligations, choices, and commitments we have made about where, how, and with whom well spend our time and energy. Work falls under this umbrella, because work is just one facet of life (or just one spoke on the umbrella). This is where balance comes inbelow the life umbrelladeciding how to give the right amount of time and attention to the roles we have chosen.

Today, companies should care about the overall life success of their employees. Those that cling to traditional approaches of managing the workforce are behind the curve. We live in a world where technology lets people experience success in all aspects of their lives while business objectives are being met.

At my own firm, weve witnessed firsthand how moving to a flexible work environment in whichemployees can work where and when they pleaseas long as they produce results can actually improved the overall performance of a company, including increased revenue, client satisfaction, employee engagement,and retention.

Moving to a mindset of work-life success means that an employee is able to coach his childs soccer practice at 4 P.M. or take her elderly mother to physical therapy in the middle of the day. The lesson learned is that when you respect every aspect of an employees life and allow them to minister to non-work commitments in a guilt-free way, they thrive and produce their best work.

The four mindsets that employers and employees alike need to adopt in order to embrace a flexible culture that respects this new reality and keeps the life umbrella wide open are:

1. Employers Can No Longer Equate Time Spent in the Office With Productivity

Employersmust help rid managers of the toxic If I cant see you, youre not working attitude. Theymust create ecosystems that are designed to facilitate results-focused performance conversations. There has to be a clear line of sight between each role in the organization, the quantifiable results expected of each employee, and solid ways of measuring success so that thoughtful and intelligent performance discussions regarding alignment with mission and vision can take place.

Many companies, especially those thatemploy large numbers of knowledge workers who use technology to do their jobs and stay connected, have no need to focus on where people are physically when they do their work. Technology is no longer confined to the hub of a brick and mortar office. People carry it in their pockets, have it in their cars, and use it in their homes. Why should people waste hours commuting long distances just to be in the same place at the same time?

Granted, there are times when people need to be together to collaborate, resolve problems, plan projects, and build camaraderie, but today, these gatherings can be thoughtfully planned instead of senselessly contrived.

2. As Much as Employers Need to Care About the Overall Life Success of Their Employees, Employees Need to Care About the Overall Financial Success of Their Employers

Those who divest themselves from any meaningful connection to their jobswho punch the clock but dont feel they own a companys resultsare also behind the curve. We work in lean organizations that need everyone fully on board, including their hearts and minds, not just backs and hands.


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