Fridays: Lost and (hope to be) Soon Forgotten

Sunday night you gear up for Monday. Packed the computer - check. Car keys are in place - check. Employee Badge in purse - check. We plan and schedule the most important meetings beginning of the week so we can then plan on spending the latter part of the week "catching up".
Mondays are always buzzing around with people chugging down coffee by the gallons asking others what they did over the weekend. Then comes Wednesday, hump day, and things start to settle. Someone scheduled a meeting on Friday at 3:00 p.m. and you gasp wondering who in their right mind would schedule something for that late in the afternoon on a Friday of all days?! DECLINE - PROPOSE NEW TIME....MONDAY.

Companies near and far cry out how they value and embrace work life balance - four day work weeks, work from home, flexible scheduling! HA, is what I say! How many of you work for an organization that claims "work life balance" and you don't take advantage of it because you feel guilty, like a slacker, or think you won't get that next promotion because you didn't take it for the team and stayed on Friday - even LATE on Friday? How did we get to this? Here I am complaining as I watch our branch director dash out of the office at 3:30 and I think to myself, "must be nice."

Help me understand how you do it. How does someone advance in an organization and maintain a work/life balance? I'm talking a TRUE work/life balance here. Not someone who talks smack about it and then works on the weekend while they complain they haven't seen their family in a month even though the company supposedly supports a flexible schedule?

So, we have those who take advantage of taking a Friday afternoon off and those who stay back complaining about those who took off while secretly wishing they would have went with them. How many of you pretty much wrap up your work week at noon on Friday, but stay back because "you have to"?

We should just make Fridays "voluntary with no regrets" - plain and simple.

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Comment by Charles Van Heerden on November 16, 2009 at 1:14am
Hi Tina, as I was off on Friday only saw your post today :)

Work/life starts with a flexible work schedule, In my last team I had several staff members working flexible hours. One person wanted to have Wednesdays off as she was playing golf; the OHS Manager didn't work on Fridays, but worked 36 hours spread over four days, starting at 6 a.m. as he wanted to leave earlier. All of this required much more coordination but we had a regular day and time for team meetings. As the OHS Manager was available on his mobile on Fridays, we only called him when necessary.

Like all good things, I think it starts from the top. I often had to tell staff to go home (especially in the beginning), as I knew they came in at 7 for an early meeting, or had meetings until 11 last night. After a while, we had a team culture where people became more flexible. I think it is all about a real focus on results and outcomes, not the hours you clock.

We changed some celebratory company dinners to lunch time functions, as it took people away from their families, and all training was done during the week, not over the weekend. After a year (yes, it takes time), there was a critical mass that saw the benefits, and the business started to embrace it in a real way, not some "warm and fuzzy" statement on the web site.


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