Flexibility is Work-Life Balance

If you’ve been paying attention to things like my LinkedIn profile, then you probably know I started a new position last week.

When discussing why I made the change with people over recent days, I find myself talking around the same things that this UK survey talks about:

A study outlining the positive benefits of flexible working has found that more than a third of flexible workers have seen an improvement in their mental health, as experts warned against the impact of negative attitudes from management towards the topic.

I didn’t leave my previous job because I didn’t like it, or because I had problems with coworkers, or the work, or anything other than the fact that the lack of flexibility was eating away at me. Especially this year when we’ve lost so many family members, I’ve longed for the days when I controlled not just the when of working, but also the where.

There’s just something about having 10 hours of every day completely controlled by someone else. Again, it’s not that they expect you to work those hours, it’s the fact that, for all intents and purposes, every single day consists of driving to the office, being in the office, taking lunch in the office, then driving home from the office, with only tiny adjustments allowed for appointments and maybe a small vacation mixed in there.

I don’t think everyone is built to do that. Myself included.

So now I’m going to work remotely. Yes, I’ll be traveling quite a bit too, there will be times I need to be onsite for meetings, or working with a client, but other times I now have the freedom to be at home, have some flexibility built into the daily schedule, and also be able to travel and visit family and friends while working remotely from those locations sometimes too. I’m fairly confident that is going to help me do more of the things I want to spend my time doing, the most important things, the ones that aren’t work.

Ironically, I’ll probably end up actually working more hours, and being connected more often, but also doing more for my mental health. If managers can’t see that benefit, I just don’t know what to say. Yes, it requires trusting your employees, but if you have employees you can’t trust, why is that? Whose fault is that?

For that matter, why are we measuring employees by the time they spend at their desk versus the amount of work they get done, and their responsiveness to customers, regardless of where it occurs?

It’s almost 2020. We can do better.

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