So I just read an interesting article that shocked me at first. My wife and I just had twins. I guess I always thought that the stress, lack of sleep and other ailments other parents so quickly share would take years off of my life. The recent research actually suggests that having kids actually can help you live longer!
Once you read the research it makes sense. Parents, especially fathers, go through a lot of changes physically and mentally once they have kids. They start doing the things they always talked about. Quit smoking. Eat healthier. Drink less alcohol. Actually get that annual physical and screening you said you would. These make sense once you realize other lives are now depending on you.
The part that was more surprising was the emotional improvements children make. An increased, albeit different, social life. Social life once meant happy hours, concerts, guys trips, etc. but now means more time with the in-laws and extended family, more time meeting other families and sharing experiences, more time balancing ones life without those sixty hour workweeks. Of course I would be remiss if I didn’t expand on that last point. Workplace flexibility is no longer a pipe dream. Many companies, organizations and individuals are seeing the benefits of workplace flexibility. What are the benefits? Increased morale, reduced turnover and most importantly increased results. To put it simply, more productivity with happier people at reduced costs. Why wouldn’t you implement workplace flexibility if you were a business owner, manager or influencer?
So how can you implement workplace flexibility? Here are three places to start:
- Talk About It – The first part of implementing workplace flexibility, whether you are the worker bee or queen bee, is to have a discussion about why it is important to the workers, to the business and to the customers. Offering workplace flexibility increases morale, productivity and retention. These are win-win-win scenarios for the employee, company and customer.
- Define It – So many organizations and individuals have failed at implementing workplace flexibility because they lacked the communication and commitment up front. You must define what workplace flexibility will look like as an organization but more importantly define it for each position that is going to trial or start it. Very specifically state when flexibility is allowed (Work from home every Friday, Four 10 hour days, etc.) and when it is not allowed (Team meetings, end of quarters, etc.) Once this is defined it should be shared and communicated with those whom may be impacted.
- Try It – Let’s not shoot for the moon out of the gates, lets make everyone more comfortable and start with a trial. Let’s start with 90 days and reevaluate/discuss/adapt around the 60 day mark. Start with one or two positions and when they become successful we can expand the program. Discuss upfront the metrics we will use to determine success from failure so that we don’t get to the end of the trial period and make future decisions based only on our gut feelings.
by Clint St. Mosley
Clint St.Mosley is Vice President of Sales and Operations for MomSource Network. A 3 year old startup focusing on professional development, networking and connecting professionals wanting flexible work arrangements with progressive companies offering them. Connect with Clint and MomSource on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. You can also email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.