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Hello work-life balance

Employees want flexibility and freedom from outdated work practices. For this to happen, organisations must empathise with the individual behind the output


So many of our current working patterns are hugely outdated – the idea of ‘nine to five’ was conceived during the industrial revolution. Our culture of presenteeism was born out of conformity, rather than evolving working patterns into what we truly need, both in terms of motivation and productivity.

Large organisations embrace a fixed regime of regimented hours and a single office space because it enables them to retain control over their workforce. Big businesses that allow employees to work from home on Wednesdays, leave early on a Friday, or work a four-day week are not offering true flexibility, they are merely extending the leash. But the tide is turning: people are now taking the matter of work-life balance into their own hands. One in seven workers in the UK has chosen self-employment as the most effective means to take control.

In order for an employee to feel connected to and motivated by their employer, mutual understanding is crucial. This requires the employer to truly empathise with the person behind the employee, and appreciate the richness and complexity of their lives outside of work. Failure to do so may encourage the employee to seek out a more “caring” work environment, or follow the growing trend towards self-employment.

Anyone who has led a team or simply been part of a working group, knows it’s more productive and more enjoyable to work with highly motivated and enthusiastic individuals.

Rapid developments in technology and the prevalence of Wi-Fi mean we have reached a tipping point where we can work far more flexibly. The future of work is flexible, and the only way to embrace flexibility is to trust those who work with you and to be genuinely empathetic about their circumstances.

As companies increasingly buy in specialist resource for the task in hand rather than adding fixed overheads through full-time staff, the decentralisation of the workforce is a growing trend.

Read the full article reported on by Lizzie Penny for The Guardian, here: