Let’s Not Use The Word “Let.” by Amy Goldberg

I was reading an article the other day where the writer was talking about work life balance. He went on to say that in fact it’s not about balance, it’s about ‘fit.’ I happen to agree with him.

Interestingly, (and, yes, I am screaming ARE YOU KIDDING ME, using my inner voice) the conversation, studies, research and anything else related to work life balance came up for me in the 90’s where I disputed the notion, saying; “Isn’t it about priorities rather than balance? One could go mad if they truly believed that they needed to find the holy grail of work life balance. Does anyone agree with me here? It fell on deaf ears. I’m not so sure we’ve truly moved on from this idea. I still see sessions, talks and workshops on work life balance. But I digress.

What does any of this have to do with what I’m writing about? I’m getting there!

Let’s Not Use The Word ‘Let.’

In the same article, the writer went on to talk about ones working style and how important it was to align with and ensure that one’s work style fit with one’s own style. In the same sentence he gave the example of how important it was to “work in a way that suits us.” For example; “Give me control over my time and space, and I’m amazing.” Ok, great, love it so far.

But …

This really irks me. In the same sentence as (I’m paraphrasing); “Thankfully, some really smart companies are adapting to their employee needs.” For example, one company; “They have core days, so they let employees work from home or work how they like on, maybe, Monday and Friday. But Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday are in-office days where people can see each other.” Am I the only one that is picking up on the ridiculousness of this?

In this day and age, we’re STILL actually treating people like morons? We’re still doing the “us and them thing?” We’re still not trusting the people we hire? We still use language that contradicts oneself. We’re still not looking at individuals and how they work best. We’re still not accessing human resource to actually help people to be their amazing selves?

It’s not rocket science.

It’s about honest conversations. It’s about adults speaking with adults. It’s about trust. Where did anyone get the idea that one should be so thankful that you’re “letting” one do something, or setting the exact same policies for everyone? Oh no there would be mayhem!!

Finally, and trust me, this IS the icing on the cake, the writer ends by saying; “Clearly both parties’ benefit – workers and companies – from the flexibility to allow work-life fit. Companies likely see improved productivity and a more engaged workforce.” And blah blah blah there was more, and yet it was so poorly written that I couldn’t carry on with it.

I promised myself that I was going to end on a positive note, as that’s who I am. Imagine if you empowered, enabled, embraced and engaged people to do their best work in a way that best ‘fit’ their style (whatever that looked-like) Watch what happens.

I imagine, or I hope that you ‘had people’ at; value, mission, and vision when they joined your team, right? That’s what they signed up for. They believed in you and your company when they were given their roles. Now, enable them to do what they said they were going to do. If it doesn’t work out, then part ways.

Yes, it’s expensive to recruit good people. Even more expensive if it doesn’t work out. So, do it right the first time. Collaborate together to create the best-case scenario for both of you.

Boom. Mike drop. Stepping off the stage.