Our workplace is continually changing, but the age-old debate around work/life balance continues…
The simple truth is that the way we work has changed dramatically. This may be due to globalisation and the requirement to work across multiple time zones; greater requirement for travel; family impacts; project deadlines… Luckily, rapid advances in technology have assisted us to adapt, stay connected and work outside of the office, and outside of office hours. So why are we still needed to sit in the office for our core hours as well?
Despite focus on flexibility for many their work-life balance is getting worse according to a recent survey of 1000 employees!
As identified by the Australian Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency it is vital for business leaders to lead by example when implementing any workplace change strategy.
Unfortunately so much time is wasted in our workplaces due to archaic practices that are no longer relevant. These include unnecessary meetings, web browsing, email spam, delayed commute due to peak flows among others. Atlassian’s infographic outlines some alarming statistics here: http://bit.ly/1bLnZIK.
Technology allows people to work anywhere, anytime, so people can have the ability to choose whether they wish to sit in an office; vary their office hours; or conduct follow up work outside of normal hours when the kids are asleep for example. The benefit is that people can prioritise their time to achieve balance, and employers get a happier, healthier and more productive workforce with clear and measurable outcomes.
Employers that offer their employee’s options to assist them create a better work/life balance will create loyalty, and thence minimise employee turnover. Flexibility options may include:
What is the answer?
I believe one solution is for workplaces to adopt an outcome focused environment. This would involve setting tasks/outcomes for individuals with clear communication and deliverables. These may be on a daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly basis. The outcomes should be measured, not the inputs. This concept allows ultimate flexibility for employees to meet their deliverables as and when suits their individual lifestyle(s).
Efficient people may get their respective tasks done more quickly than others. Less efficient people can learn to adopt smarter ways of reaching their deliverable in less time. Rather than enforcing efficient workplace practices through managing and monitoring, employees will seek to optimise their time to produce the appropriate outcomes. Employers offering flexible solutions to their employees can also attract staff loyalty.
Of course there are always exceptions to the rule, and some people will require closer supervision. However, there is need for change and the sooner we break free from the archaic shackles of the industrial movement, the better for employees, employers and the community.
Written by June Parker, Director Selection Partners
June is Co-Founder of Selection Partners, President of EEON and an Executive and Career Coach. June has strong business acumen with the ability to quickly grasp the needs of her clients. She has proven experience in the application of critical leadership coaching methodologies and tools. June’s sense of humour combined with her direct yet supportive style enables her clients to feel safe whilst stretching themselves to develop and progress. She quickly develops trust and is known for her common sense practical approach. June is ICF & CDAA qualified.