Imbalanced, our lives are imbalanced. We do not have time to climb the ladder of success if we want to be home to raise our children. We do not have time to raise our children if we want to climb the ladder of success. There are not enough hours in the day to do all the things that we need to do to have a fulfilled life. We do not have time to cook a healthy meal from scratch. We grab a box of Hamburger Helper, a can of peas, and a bag of rolls and we have dinner. Exercise consists of walking between the car and the door and maybe a little wrestling around with the kids before bed. At work productivity is counted by how many hours you spend doing your job instead of the results that our produced in that time. Mindsets like this hold us back. Flexibility for the employee is the future to balancing our lives.
Workplace Flexibility is slowly climbing in the United States but it is not moving fast enough because of social norms and bottom lines. I am currently a stay-at-home mom and a student on the job hunt and what I have noticed is that there just are not a lot of opportunities for working mothers who are not willing to give up putting a meal on the table every night for their kids. Hourly employers love flexibility, but when they say flexibility they mean that they want their employee to be available anytime. I read must be available for days, nights, weekends, and holidays on over half of the job descriptions I looked at.
A glimmer of hope is that some companies that employ a lot of hourly employees are starting to see the benefits of giving more flexibility to their employees. Capital One Financial not only offers flexible schedules, but they also offer health insurance, a 401(k) and other benefits to their employees.(Capital One, 2013) Best Buy started a Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE) in 2003. Some companies like Accenture, IBM, and Sun Microsystems offer flexible work options by not giving employees an “official” office instead they make other arrangements. (Sladek, 2009)
Flexibility in the workplace is something we should all care about. Most of us will be lucky enough to have a family one day which is why everyone should be supporting this. Not just for the parents out in the business world right now who are trying to have careers and raise their children the best they can, but also for the corporate attorney who works twelve hours a day. He has no time for a personal life, and forgot how to exercise or feed himself properly because he’s too busy at work. When companies offer flexibility they are able to access a bigger talent pool of people to work for them. They will also retain employees because less will see the need to leave if they are able to balance their lives.