Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Work Life Freedom is better than Balance

I have this mate who works away from home for twelve weeks of the year. For the rest of the year he doesn’t work. He is a trouble shooter for a resource company, turning around operations that are underperforming. In the kitchen at home, while he is away, a chart counts down how many days are left till Dad comes home. 100-99-98 etc. As a father of three he plans his twelve week stints so he will miss the least most important events.

I share this story in my seminars to highlight the variable definitions we have of balance. Some people need time to themselves daily. Some people can work flat out Monday to Friday as long as they get to spend weekends with their kids. Others are happy to work three weeks a month and have one week off.

Many employers are struggling to find and keep talent as they pursue the coveted distinction of being an Employer of choice. Perhaps they are missing the one ingredient that people value more than balance....... Freedom!

Freedom to work, when I work best, in a way that delivers the best quality of life for me. Not some imposed work life balance mandate that is unachievable in busy periods and basically sets work up as wrong.

As an employer

  • Find out what balance means to your people
  • Seek to create freedom for them (ask the question, "what would make you feel you have more freedom"?)

As an employee

  • Deliver results and earn the right for freedom
  • With huge freedom comes huge accountability

Let’s stop prescribing what balance means to people and start engaging them in a dialogue that allows them to explain what freedom means to them.

Let’s allow people to do their Personal Best.

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