Balancing act: Training people to handle flexibility can help workers, companies

Published: Tuesday, June 3 2014 7:30 a.m. MDT

Furthermore, Yost wrote, 88 percent of the participants felt they more actively managed their work and personal responsibilities and goals; 81 percent said they were more likely to collaborate with others; and 73 percent said they were better able to gauge their capacity for all responsibilities.

Those are fairly positive results and the kind of numbers to which corporations should pay attention.

In tough economic times, I'm sure many CEOs and managers ask why they should make an effort on this kind of training when they're struggling just to keep their employees motivated and on-task from week to week. But I would argue that offering flexibility — and making sure workers are ready to handle it — is the kind of thing that builds the energy and focus companies need these days.

After all, the survey showed that 85 percent of respondents believe employee loyalty, health and performance suffer in workplaces that don't offer work-life flexibility.

Especially in times of ever-increasing workloads, that's a statistic companies can't afford to ignore.

"Everyone is having to do more with less, and I am not sure that's going to change anytime soon," Yost wrote in her email. "However, it's important to note that, according to our research, when people received training or guidance on how to manage their flexibility, their personal sense of control over their flexibility increased.

"Right now, only 40 percent of respondents said they were getting any kind of 'how-to' support, which could account for why people feel so overwhelmed. It's not just workload; it's how work and everything else fits together."

And that's the bottom line. Everyone seems busy and stressed these days, whether at work or at home. If a business can help its employees manage those challenges, it will have the kind of happy, productive workers it needs to succeed in today's economy.

It sounds trite, but in such a situation, it's possible for everyone to win. And that's what building work-life balance should be all about.

Email your comments to kratzbalancingact@gmail.com or post them online at deseretnews.com. Follow me on Twitter at gkratzbalancing or on Facebook on my journalist page.

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