Question: How does a human resources manager deal with balancing the personal lives and work lives of his or her employees? Today's talent market is tough. How do you convince that great prospect to join your company and devote crazy hours to it yet reconcile with the employee's need to care for a child or even a dog?
Answer: Reconcile with an employee's need to take care of a pet? Only in the new economy ... only in the new economy ...
Well, like it or not, the evolution of the workplace and the state of our robust economy has brought the issues of work/life balance to the forefront. You might think that an employee's need to take care of his or her beagle is ridiculous, but the company down the road competing for the same employee might be indulgent – and today the goal of the game is to land the best talent you can to build your company. So ... it’s time to get with the program!
What does that mean? No, you don't have to allow your employees to bring their pets to work. But if you had a dog run area on site – obviously a bit easier for a company with a nice spread in Silicon Valley as opposed to a company headquartered fifty stories above Times Square in Manhattan – your employees certainly would appreciate it and you might find that the added costs are minimal. The same goes with accommodating working parents' needs to care of their children. What would after-school daycare services for your employees cost? Would it be so terrible to have a babysitter onsite to watch the kids for a few hours in the afternoon/evening? Even if the idea sounds ridiculous, why not try it if the costs are minimal and it can only make your employees happier and therefore more productive?
On a macro level, the solution here is flexibility. Allowing employees the opportunity to work flexible hours, do some work from home, and otherwise break out of the typical corporate cubicle culture goes a long way toward allowing employees to meet both their work and personal obligations. This might involve loosening your current rules on what is acceptable in the workplace, but the results will be well worth it. Although it may appear to be otherwise, today's employees aren't asking for the world – they simply want a little personal respect from their employers. Give them that, and you'll find dedication and productivity that you've never seen before.
You don't have an old corporate culture to change. Just be yourselves, treat people like people, and if the toddler or dog pees on the new rug in reception, the carpet cleaning machine only rents for thirty bucks. Well worth the price, right?
What have you done at your company to give your employees a better work-life balance? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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