Back to school thoughts on Work/Life balance
Now that the summer is nearly over, many parents are getting ready for school. For many people, this tends to be a high demand period where we "bend" our schedules to make sure we are there at the right times for drop off, pickup, and to support all the afterschool demands. Work schedules that allow people to meet those demands can make a big difference for many employees.
A segment of the population that continues to grow is the dual income families with kids that manage their schedules in a way to avoid childcare issues. The classic example of this is where one parent works the day shift and the other works at night. With the right start times, one parent can drop off the kids for school, and another can pick them up. I have had managers voice their concerns that couples in these situations never see each other and that can't be good for their relationships. Additionally, the responses I have heard from those very same couples is that they do not have to worry about childcare, and with the extra money, they can provide a better lifestyle for their families.
Organizations that can provide schedules that match employees' lifestyles are more likely to find and keep great employees. A global workforce shift that has been attributed to the Millennials, but is affecting many more workers, is the move to more and more effective time off. Lifestyle has replaced the paycheck as the reason many people stay with a company. That is not to discount the need to pay competitively, but a lifestyle has become an important factor in job satisfaction. One of the critical areas for companies to explore is how parents can get more time off with their kids. Becoming involved in schools, helping with homework, coaching, and volunteer work have become central themes in many families.
However, many companies are working more hours and are open more days of the week than ever before. So how can organizations resolve these relatively conflicting ideas? The solution is the right schedule. It is the right schedule that can get people the time off they desire. You may have to work this weekend, but you can get a four day weekend next weekend to take the little ones to their favorite amusement park. You may have to work tonight, but that may mean there is time off next week to volunteer at the school. These are choices many employees are making to fit to work with family.