Why a Flex Work Environment Works
Anyone who owns a business knows that you WILL work a lot of hours. If you go into business because you want to work less than owning a business is not for you. However, owning a business does afford me one scheduling benefit. I am able to spend quality time with my young children to do things like coaching my son’s baseball team and taking him to other extracurricular activities.
Almost every day I carve out a chunk of my schedule to be able to spend time with my kids. It means that I typically work into late hours of the night (I’m writing this blog post at 11pm on a Sunday night). While that doesn’t sound ideal to some, to me it means quality time with my children spent teaching, playing or coaching them. That has always been a very important life goal for me.
What’s My Point?
I know a lot of people who work for companies that they don’t own. They work for someone else. I know not everyone is cut out to be a business owner. I know it’s a scary thought for many people to not have that sense of security you get from receiving a pay check every 2 weeks. This blog post is not intended to argue the benefits of working for yourself versus working for someone else.
A lot of those people who work for someone else talk about going out on their own, and it is often because of their work/life balance. It’s hard to coach your child’s sports team if you work until 5:30pm. It’s really hard to even attend a game if you work on Saturdays. If you leave work at 5:30 and spend 30 minutes traveling you get home at 6pm. You might have 1-2 hours of quality time with your children before they go to bed (unless they’re teens).
Some companies have started to realize the benefit to creating a flexible work schedule. Flex schedules are schedules that are adjusted to allow employees to be able to work around their family activities, child care or other life activities outside of the work place. Employees are more productive and generally happier. Morale improves significantly for those employees who are able to be more involved in their family life.
So why aren’t more employers instituting this type of scheduling? I understand it’s not feasible for all positions but I do believe the vast majority of jobs can be flexed. It might be time for employers to wake up and offer some flexibility in their employee’s schedule. As an employer you will develop loyal, motivated employees who want to be at work because their employer has shown that they genuinely care about their employee’s life outside of work.
Work/Life Balance. Do It Now
I might take a step further. In fact I have. I give assignments to employees with a deadline. It’s up to them when they work on it, and to some degree how long it takes them. At times we have to adjust the expectation if the allotted time to complete an assignment is not reflective of the amount of time truly needed. We review it as a team and make a decision as a team. Generally speaking this has been successful for me and for my team. Of course there are hiccups but we get through them and I think we do so easier than working a rigid 9-5 or other 8 hour day.
It’s time for companies of all sizes to understand what motivates their employees. Many parents would love to help their kids with homework, help the soccer team or baseball team, coach their kids, read them a bed time story, take them to see a matinee or a museum in the summer, etc.. This was more important to me than unlimited income potential.
Since leaving the corporate world I have been able to coach my son’s baseball team for two years and those memories will far outweigh staying at work for a 4:30 meeting on a Friday afternoon. I am able to take a middle of the week afternoon off to take the kids to a museum or an amusement park, or sled riding or whatever we decide to do. The lines are shorter and we have a blast. It might mean that I am putting in a few hours on a Sunday night but it’s worth it. We will all remember it for the rest of our lives.
As my business grows I fully intend on offering flex schedules and work from home options. Does your company plan to do the same? You just might want to consider it.