Employee Flexibility and Work-Life Integration
You hear it often requested as one of the desired benefits when asking current employees and potential new hires what they’re looking for in their careers — an ideal work/life balance. Trying to find the right breakdown between hours worked per week and maintaining some sort of balance within their personal lives as well.
The challenge? It varies person by person. How one employee views balance may greatly vary from the next, and as a leader within your organization, how can you determine what the correct split between the two may be?
The answer may come with a change in how we view this situation. Rather than finding a work/life balance, can we find a way to integrate work with the lives of our employees?
A traditional view of the work/life balance shows a division between work roles & personal life activities, while the idea of work/life integration combines the two together. As the workforce continues to change, and we see the shift from Baby Boomers to Millennials to Gen Z, the idea of sitting at a desk from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. is no longer required. Rather, these employees are looking for the flexibility that allows them to put in the hours they need to during the week, including evenings and weekends, without feeling tied down by traditional organizational “constraints.”
Focusing on your organization’s work/life integration can also empower your employees by giving them choices and multiple options to determine their priorities, which can (and will) change over the course of their entire career.
How can you gauge your organization’s ability to provide work/life integration? First, listen to your employees. Do they feel they have flexibility within their schedules, or are they tied to their office desk until 5 p.m. (and then completely shutting off after)?
Do you offer the ability for them to work remote, when applicable? Are you allowing them to determine their priorities, or are you forcing their hand? Technology – through smart phones, apps, social media, online resources, etc. — makes this concept entirely possible, and is also what makes it so attractive to the next generation of talent coming through your doors.
MarshBerry is constantly asked how high-growth firms are adding new talent and maintaining their top talent. While there are several factors in play, their ability to change and adapt with workforce trends plays a large role. Are you forcing your employees to trand find a way to balance work and life, or are you providing a culture where the two can integrate?