Flexible Work: What does balance mean to you?

Flexible working is not a new concept, but the need for it has been increasing in recent years especially as employers encourage the return to work. We know that it’s important to work and play well with others. What we don’t always see are people who need time off to maintain their sanity.

The idea of flexible working arrangements may seem simple enough: either you work hard or you take a break. But what if your company is committed to this flexible philosophy and you want more than just the traditional PTO?

We all know that the first months of the pandemic were unpredictable and we’re tired of talking about it. Let’s move on. We know there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. We see it ahead of us. As one of my clients confided, “I just hope it’s not a train barreling down the tracks.” Me too.

Until last month, I hadn’t taken a two-week spring break in 10+ years. I had dreamed of this for many years and hoped that one day I would figure out a way to make it work. Well, this year has been a whirlwind, and after being fully vaccinated (and waiting two weeks), I spent two weeks in sunny California with my family. In fact, one week was spent with my kids and parents before my husband was able to join us.

Yes, you can have it all and do it all. After running $100-400M brands and businesses, I can assure you that the world doesn’t stop just because you’re away. I’ve always continued to field dozens of calls from my clients, participate in zoom calls, build PowerPoints for pitches, participate in amazing conferences, etc. This time was different, however, because nobody was counting it against my “vacation time” or checking to see how many hours I worked. In fact, it felt extremely freeing. I was able to do as little or as much work as I needed and on my schedule. That’s because I believe in work-life integration.

Different Types of Flexibility

Work-life balance represents flexibility, but what’s important for one person may be very different from the next. These are the different types of flexibility:

For some of my clients, it means literally working autonomously without being bothered by anyone else or having someone else come up with your schedule. For example, today I’m going to spend X hours on this and Y hours on that. Maybe you’re an attorney who wants to schedule your own client meetings. Or, maybe you’re an agency executive that wants to design your own travel schedule. The ability to control your calendar to start and end at certain times is extremely meaningful to many.

For others, it simply means being able to get things done in the location and the specific hours that they prefer. For example, maybe this includes working from home, or even the ability to work from vacation. I just worked from California while I was away for two weeks. Some days I may prefer to work 20 hours and others I may prefer to work four. And guess, what? That’s ok. I get to choose.

Running my own business, I am always “on” and I like it that way. I’ll work whenever I want and with whoever I want and in whatever way that is most productive for me at the time. I love involving my two young boys in my work. I’m showing them how to be a productive, hardworking mom, and helping them learn key concepts along the way. When they were learning their states and countries, we spoke about the locations of my clients. As they began learning about leadership styles and personality types, I talk to them about hiring decisions. We discuss design tools, social media concepts, and best practices for writing. These are life skills that I hope my boys can carry on into the future.

I call this concept work-life integration. I’m always on in my work life. And, I’m always on in my home life. This works well for me and I get to be the same person 100% of the time.

What do you mean when you use the word flexible? Comment on this post and let me know!

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A Quote from the Author:

“We all know that the first months of the pandemic were unpredictable and we’re tired of talking about it. Let’s move on.” Flexible working has been a topic of debate in recent years. Do you believe in balance or integration?

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