Balancing act: To build better balance, start with your ABCs
P is for pay. Surveys show that many people would be willing to take a pay cut in exchange for being allowed to work from home. If that's what it would take for your company to consider increasing flexibility, don't be afraid to ask your employees how they would feel about that bargain.
Q is for quiet. Many people say that, while they like the camaraderie of the office environment, they also appreciate the silence of their home work space. When someone needs to put her head down and really plow through a project, allowing her to telecommute may be the answer.
R is for risk. If your company and your workers haven't experimented with flexible work schedules or building better work-life balance, doing so may seem risky. New things always do, but that doesn't mean they're not worth trying.
S is for safe. Make sure workers know they won't be penalized for working from home. If an employee's productivity is high, it shouldn't matter where she's doing her work.
T is for technology. Many apps and IT products are designed to help people work from remote sites without sacrificing the technological benefits they enjoy at the office. If you're going to offer telecommuting as an option for your workers, be sure to give them the tools they need to succeed.
U is for understanding. As a boss, build enough awareness of your workers' personal lives to understand when they need some flexibility. Then follow through in a meaningful way.
V is for vacancy. As you start to allow more telecommuting, you may find you don't need as much office space. If improving flexibility makes your employees happy and saves you money on your lease, so much the better.
W is for worthiness. Prove that you're capable of handling a more flexible schedule by staying on top of tasks, even when you're away from the office.
X is for exciting. (I know that's cheating, but how many words start with X?) Flexibility can be thrilling for someone who hasn't had it before. Enjoy it!
Y is for Yahoo. It and some other high-profile companies have announced that they are rolling back their telecommuting programs. But just because they're big companies doesn't mean they're right. Do what you think will be of the most benefit to your company and workers.
Z is for zero. If you don't try to help your employees build better balance, your chance of succeeding is zero. Make the effort. I believe you'll be glad you did.