I read this post recently by Sally Krawchek, Past President of Merrill Lynch, US Trust, Smith Barney. She makes a case for “flexibility without shame”.
I loved this position because it really speaks to being sensitive to people’s needs, along with a changing environment, and to being open enough in your thinking to look for an answer that moves past the status quo. Sally makes a case for flexibility in the structure of how and when employees do their work, to allow for covering the needs of home, family, and the workplace.
“It’s time for smart companies to stop staring past the data and recognize a simple truth. Raising children, taking care of the home, working full-time – and, yes, fighting any vestiges of subtle discrimination – is exhausting…
…smart companies will build cultures and career paths that go beyond today’s flexibility approaches: they will enable true “flexibility without shame.”
It might be a little harder to handle the logistics of a distributed and flexible workforce, but the gratitude of your employees can make it worth it. In conversations I’ve had with many of my peers, the opportunity to be able to have flexibility in their work lives is hugely important.
Sally speaks mainly to the decisions that women have to make regarding their careers and how that impacts their long-term prospects. I think the same point exists for men who choose to take some time away from the workplace, whether it be to care for a family or some other personal reason. It would be really inspiring to see flexibility become the norm.