Work life balance is a much used phrase. And more so these days, especially when employment levels have never been so high. The balance of power (at an exec level) is clearly tipped in favour of the candidate.
Luke Johnson, the serial entrepreneur and who is now an investor in the travel industry via Neilson Holidays, writes in the Sunday Times on 27 August 2017 that physical location should no longer be a restraint on hiring talent, giving the example of WordPress (of which this blog and millions of others are written on their platforms), who employ 400 staff, mainly working from their homes across 141 cities in 28 countries across the globe. Yet many employers remain insistent that staff work in an office Monday to Friday, losing out on great talent that just requires a bit of flexibility, perhaps working from home one day a week, or working slightly different hours to assist with commuting or simply taking children to school.
Working mothers have faced the challenge of inflexible employers for many years, but now with people living longer and ever ageing parents , it is sometimes that staff need to be closer to their parents or need time off to attend to their needs. This doesn’t mean they will work any less or be less committed. Far from it in many cases, where employees who have been granted flexibility cherish it and go the extra mile as a result. I heard recently of an employee who had never worked from home in their career was suddenly told by their employer that they were now to be home based. The employee was paranoid that they would be perceived as being work shy that they ended up being signed off by their doctor for excessive stress because they were working such long hours in to the evening every night. Now this isn’t good of course, but it demonstrates the mindset of many diligent people. Lets face it, you are either committed and driven about your work or not, and this isn’t likely to change whatever environment you are allowed to work in.
I get frustrated by the lost opportunities that companies pass by because they won’t consider really talented candidates who can only commit to 3 days in an office, but will do many many more hours whilst at home. Here at Gail Kenny Executive Recruitment, close to 50% of our work force are now remotely based. Of course its great to all be together from time to time, but we get access to talented people whom we would miss out on if we insisted on Monday – Friday 9 – 5 working mantras.
This blog was entitled “Life Work Balance” as opposed to “Work Life Balance” for good reason, and we need to get our heads round the fact that this is the direction of travel and respect that candidates have other things to consider in addition to their jobs and careers.