James pointed out that how we act is how we attract customers and loyal staff. As business owners, we know that we are nothing without retaining our major talent. As much as we rely on our own savvy, we need staff members (or outside consultants) whose ideas make us buzz, whose ethics match our own, who have the versatility to wear many hats (without complaining), and whose passion fuels them to go further and learn faster.
Top-notch employees need not be caught, but attracted. The cream of the crop know that they are in demand, and are therefore making their own demands about what they require from their employers. The people in this small pool of the workforce are very much interviewing us as we are interviewing them.
For some business owners, the specifications employees have about what they require in a work environment today are somewhat hard to swallow. We must change with the times, and times today are synonymous with technology and a surge in the creative and service economies, all of which enable people the freedom to work for themselves from anywhere in the world. So, as business owners looking for the right people to sustain and grow our business, we need to offer more.
Throughout the past two decades there has been a shift in what employees are demanding, and we aren’t just talking about the Millennials. Family leave options aren’t about hav- ing babies anymore; fathers want equal time off to bond and care for children. Those in the Sandwich Generation (people in their 30s and 40s) are caught between caring for their aging parents and putting their kids through college.
Lifestyle options are more in demand. Some people believe they can get more work done from satellite offices, or create better when they can bring their pet to work. All of these requests, no matter how varied, aim to personalize how to bridge the gap between work and life, about not making our lives look like a scene out of Sophie’s Choice in which we need to make an impossible choice between career and home. These types of decisions cause pressure that has become a personal issue we all grapple with.
Many business owners who need to spend more waking hours at their businesses in order to launch, sustain, or build, are well aware of this because they are torn all the time and know they couldn’t do their work without someone helping out with family, elder care, childcare, or household duties. It takes a village to be in business, and this doesn’t just apply to whom we are selling or servicing!
For today’s employees and business owners alike the term “something’s gotta give” just doesn’t fly. That’s why work-life balance has become one of the most talked about and debated topics in the business world. We deserve and can have the best of both worlds, and employers of all types and sizes are get- ting on board by creating flex time policies.