There was huge cooler talk in New Orleans when Jack Welch came as the keynote speaker for the 2009 SHRM Conference and mention that there is no such thing as “work/life balance.” There was a split among the attendees and the people who watch his speech about work/life balance. The thing is, we are using the wrong word.
I disagree with Mr. Welch that work/life balance did exist in the 1980s and 1990s when women started to become prominent in the workforce and they had to pre-plan their schedule with kids, work, after school, and dinner. In today’s workspace, we have the capabilities to work not only at our offices, but at home, in our car (but not driving and working at the same time), at a coffee shop, outdoor area, or any area that has wireless signals. I do agree with Jack that in our current working culture, work/life balance does not exist…it’s a work/life blending.
Let’s admit it: if work is now 24/7 and home is 24/7, then life is 24/7. I think of work/life balance as an arbitrary number that forces us to pre-schedule your day and week. It would of worked in the 9 to 5 days, but work has infiltrate our lives outside the office and vice versa. Work/life blending is setting your own domain. Instead of setting a schedule and force people to do tasks and attend meetings, why not give a deadline and details of what you want on this assignment or simply put, give them a canvass and work on a masterpiece or a script of Curb Your Enthusiasm, which is basically bullet points of what is going on in the scene since most of the lines are improvisational. This process is called Results-Only Work Environment (ROWE), where employees set their own agenda and do whatever they want between where the project starts and ends. ROWE maybe chaotic, but if business want to see results, they must do what is best for their employees to perform. Thanks to all the toys the employee and employer has, the work environment is changing and everyone needs to adapt to it.
So when you go out to work and your manager wants to see results, think of yourself as Chef Robert Irvine and tell yourself…What Would Robert Irvine Do (except the lying on the resume part)?