Finding the Perfect Blend
September 28, 2016 by The FlexPro Group
It used to be, back in the day, that work was work and at five o’clock when the whistle blew, Fred Flintstone slid down the dinosaur’s tail and the work day was over. You never saw Fred going back to the gravel pit on the weekend or checking e-mail to deal with an issue after hours. Fred went home to Wilma, Pebbles and Dino, maybe grilled some brontosaurus burgers with the Rubbles and enjoyed himself without any additional thoughts of work. But that was the Stone Age…or was it?
Thousands of years later, Rose and I were growing up and we could practically set our clock by the time our dad left for and came home from work. When his work day was over he wasn’t drawn back in by checking e-mail on his cell phone or logging onto the computer. Even back when I started my first job out of college, things were very different. Technology, priorities, and personal organization have all come a long way in just the last decade or so.
Going back to my parents’ era and later the beginning of my career, there was a very clear division between your work life and personal life. If you were needed by the boss it was going to be a call on the land line and if you weren’t there, maybe a message on the answering machine. Today the work/life balance lines are considerably blurred. Thanks to technology, we are never really “away” from work anymore and it’s evident at any kids sporting event, mall food court or local park. We see people on their phones, working on laptops and tablets at the beach, on planes, trains and even poolside. It seems not to be as much work or play anymore, instead it’s work and play. It’s just too easy to do both.
Gone is the notion of compartmentalizing work and life separately and treating them as discrete buckets where we balance our demands for each. The reality is that the fast paced world we now live in and the ability of technology to keep us instantly connected makes it even harder to separate the two. As project managers, we need to get comfortable with the idea that in order to have fully engaged teams we have to understand that people want to be able to incorporate their life demands into their work and vice-versa. Instead of trying to find the right balance between the two, we need to figure out a way to trust our teams and let them manage their life even if it means it’s during work hours. It only makes sense because these same team members are the ones who are staying engaged throughout their non-working hours. How can we expect them to be available to us on demand regardless of time of day or day of the week if we don’t allow them the same leeway in managing their personal life during the “traditional” work day.
It’s no secret how frustrating is it trying to make a doctor or dentist appointment that falls outside of the normal work day? How about trying to set up an appointment with a plumber or the cable guy for after work? Sometimes we just need to be somewhere else and we can’t expect everything to fit perfectly into an 8:30-5:00 box. I trust my team to manage their work and life demands and to find the perfect blend of the two that works best. We all probably know old-school managers that want people in the office during designated office hours because they want to see that they are actually working. My opinion is that if you can’t trust that they are working, then you don’t have the right employees. With the ability to be connected through all of the technology available to us, it’s just not practical to “tie” people to their desks anymore.
At FlexPro, we are proud to recognize the importance of work/life balance and the necessity to blend them together. It’s part of our mantra!
We believe in the harmony of work and life.
We treasure family bonds and the vitality of great friendships.
We lead healthy lives.
We smile. We laugh. We have fun.
We work hard.
Work is what we do, not where we go.
We deliver exceptional results, without the traditional boundaries of 9-to-5.
We cherish the freedom to enjoy both work and life, because every moment counts.
-Lynn Faughey, FlexPro COO