Creating Work-Life Fit Together

Employees have to self manage their own work-life boundaries, but employers have to work on getting the flexibility into the workplace culture’s waters.

Those were two themes that came out of sessions at a recent human resources conference focused on reinventing work.

Families and Work Institute via our When Work Works initiative with the Society for Human Resource Management presented an array of sessions at SHRM’s annual conference in Orlando recently, and we followed up with two of our panelists to get their thoughts about our call to #ReinventWork and what they heard at the event.

ELLEN KOSSEKFor many professionals today, with 24-7 access to email and smart phones, a lot of managing flexibility today is not merely  formal flexibility programs but the self- management of work-life boundaries.

I co- authored a book CEO of Me: Creating a Life That Works in the Flexible Job Age a number of years ago that  lead to my partnership  with the Center for Creative Leadership to develop the Work Life Indicator. My colleague Kelly Hannum and I lead a large group through a session where  individuals assessed their work life boundary management style and whether they have control over their style, and felt that were enacting boundaries in ways that fit their identities and values. HR managers need to manage their own energy and availability in order to give their best service to others its fit with their values.

They also can coach leaders and employees to not judge colleagues productivity by how they manage boundaries  and face time but by their results. Of course, this requires clear understanding of your company’s goals and being able to focus on and define high value work.

We also need to socialize each other to not assume that if someone manages work life boundaries differently than we do that they are not equally committed to their jobs or effective.

The assessment helps individuals and teams  reflect  on how to gain greater control over how they manage transitions between work and personal life and family to create a culture of support allowing individuals to give their best energy to work and home.

~ Ellen Ernst Kossek, Basil S. Turner Professor of Management at Krannert Purdue University Krannert, School of Management

CaliIt was my first time presenting at SHRM National, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. But the engagement of the more than 150 HR professionals who attended my session was inspiring.

They understood that for flexibility to become part of the culture and operating model of their organization, it has to be more than an automated “check-the-box” policy or program. They wanted to learn about the skills and tools they could give their people that would help them partner with the business, and harness the flexibility that made sense for them personally and for their jobs.

It’s gratifying to know that, as a result, 150 workplaces are a little bit closer to creating real, meaningful flexible work success.

~ Cali Williams Yost, CEO and founder of Flex Strategy Group/Work Life Fit, and one of Mashable’s Top 14 Career Experts on Twitter, and she’s the author of Tweak It: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day.



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