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June 12, 2013 | Volume 7 | Number 6
June 12, 2013
By Stefanie A. Mockler
The way employees work and manage their lives has changed drastically over the last twenty years. Employees used to have a clear sense of where the workday ended and where life outside of work began. In fact, it was simple—clocks and walls defined the separation between work and life. However, this simplicity is now in the distant past. At the recent Work & Well-Being conference in Chicago, Cali Williams Yost, MBA, the founder and CEO of Flex+Strategy Group and author of the newly-released book TWEAK IT: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day delivered a presentation with tips about how to manage work and life demands for optimal work+life fit.
As technology advanced, organizations began to adopt new ways of communicating that do not require a presence in the office. This simple idea completely transformed the lives of employees and the previously clear lines between work and life began to blur. For example, Pew Internet (2008) found that nearly 50 percent of employees check their work email over the weekend. This illustrates the idea that the weekend is no longer a time to refresh and rejuvenate away from work—rather, it has become a continuation of the work week.
Why is this an issue?
Why should organizations care?
Simply put, highly engaged employees drive profits and report having a balance between work and life. Thus, greater work-life balance may be indirectly driving profits through increasing employee engagement. If nothing else, that is the selling point.
What can organizations do to increase Work+Life Fit for their employees?
Cali Williams Yost suggests that we need to create a new story and tools to help people effectively manage themselves in this ever-changing world.
First, she says that we need to adopt a new terminology. Rather than striving for work-life balance, she suggests that we need to gear ourselves towards finding our personal work+life fit. Balance does not capture the inherent differences in employee preferences and situations. Work+life fit, on the other hand, captures the variability that individuals have in their preference for creating a fit between work and life.
Second, employers need to set clear goals and expectations for workers utilizing work+life flexibility options. Finally, organizations should partner, create, and capture. Partner with organizational leaders and co-workers to create policies that fit within each organization and capture success so as to set an example for further innovation in work+life fit.
How can you bring the best of yourself to work and life when you experience a major transition and have to reset your “fit”?
What are the secrets of those Work+Life Fit “naturals” who always seem to get it right day to day?
The take-home point is this: both employers and employees need to acknowledge that work+life fit is a modern skill set that is necessary to achieve success both at work and in life.
Check out Cali Williams Yost’s website for more information and tips for creating the best life possible.
Harter, J. K., Schmidt, F. L., & Hayes, T. L. (2002). Business-unit-level relationship between employee satisfaction, employee engagement, and business outcomes: A meta-analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87(2), 268-279.
Kossek, E., & Michel, J. (2010). Flexible work scheduling. In S. Zedeck (Ed.), Handbook of Industrial-Organizational Psychology (p. 535–572). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project (2008). Networked Workers [PDF]. Retrieved from http://www.pewinternet.org/Reports/2008/Networked-Workers.aspx
Towers Watson (2012). Global Workforce Study [PDF]. Retrieved from: http://www.towerswatson.com/en/Insights/IC-Types/Survey-Research-Results/2012/07/2012-Towers-Watson-Global-Workforce-StudyTweet
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