There are two types of employees: those who thrive within a positive work culture that promotes work-life integration and those who will die within that culture. Which type are you? Can you live the integrated life well?
Living an integrated life requires freedom, and freedom requires responsibility. And, of course, the ability to live the integrated life fully requires an employer who supports the integrated life.
An employer who supports the integrated life provides flexible work hours and truly gives freedom to the employee to produce results and simply to get things done. This employer holds people accountable, not for the number of hours they put in or the time they log in the office, but instead for performing the job and doing exceptionally well at what they do. It’s not about how they do it: it’s about results.
There are high-performing employees and low-performing employees within this culture.
A person living the integrated life thrives in this model. They’re able to integrate their family within their work, regardless of when they need to focus on either aspect, family or work. They’re able to integrate activities or anything else into their day.
But they’re also not afraid to jump on the computer at night and knock out that project that didn’t get done before they had to run out to the carpool.
Unfortunately, there are also employees who simply can’t survive in this mode. These are individuals who try to make work-life too much of a balance. They try to cut work off when they go home. They love the freedom and they love the ability to leave early to go to the gym or to come in late to avoid the traffic.
However, they put this box around when the work can impact their personal lives. It becomes a competition and it’s a one-way street in which they abuse the privileges they’ve been given.
At 3Pillar we have an unlimited vacation policy. This means that, within reason, employees can choose how much vacation they need and they want in order to optimize their own situation. We trust our employees to make the right decision for both themselves and the company. We expect them to produce results. We expect them to be professional, to be fair, and to be balanced in their approach and not to abuse the situation.
People ask all the time, “Don’t you have people who abuse that privilege?” The answer is, “Absolutely! Of course there are!” Quite honestly, before we had this policy, these same people abused the policy that we had then.
These are the people who are not a fit for our company culture. These are the people who are always in the hole on their vacation, they always have a reason to go on another two-week long trip.
While there’s nothing wrong with a two-week long trip, it shouldn’t happen every quarter and it shouldn’t happen multiple times per year. These are the people who are always living on the edge, their vacation balance was zero and they were always asking for permission to go into the hole, and even when they were in the hole there was another reason to go into the hole.
The same is true of working hours. These are the people who complain about having to work a little bit late or come in a little bit early, but always love to take advantage the other way around.
There are those people who live the integrated life and thrive within an environment of freedom and responsibility. And there are those who simply can’t make it work. They see work as an impediment, as opposed to a blessing. They see it as fighting against their lives, as opposed to being a part of their lives. Those people struggle within a culture geared towards an integrated life.
What type are you? How can you work to better live an integrated life at work?