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Achieving ‘work-life harmony’ - Can it be done?

Posted by: Clare Butler 15/08/18

It was Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, who told his employees to shun the idea of ‘work-life balance’. According to Bezos, the idea of ‘balance’ implies a strict trade-off. Instead, Bezos envisions a more holistic relationship between work and life outside the office. Rather than viewing work life and home life as two separate parts, it is better to approach the conundrum as a circle, harmonising the relationship between the two as opposed to two time-competing constraints.

Now, I am no Bezos and Laurence Simons is not Amazon, but in our own way we try to create a harmony between the lives we are leading in the office and the lives we lead outside of work.  My team work long hours.  Calling candidates (who are lawyers) rarely takes place during office hours, and co-ordinating with clients across the world can mean early starts and late finishes. One step we have taken to give congruity is the introduction of flexi-time: it allows our employees a couple of extra hours in the working week to go to exercise classes, extend a lunch hour or simply avoid the rush hour. To do with what they wish. On Laurence Simons. 

As well as this, we ensure that the office culture we create is one that is collaborative, collegiate, confident and encouraging.  Some of the team work remotely so we have embraced technology, like Slack, to ensure that we all have “water-cooler moments” and office banter regardless of whether the team member is in a shared office or not.  We care.  Enquiring about a colleague’s weekend/evening is a standard practise in the mornings, allowing everyone to carry their positive moods and feelings into the working day. In addition, social events as a team, such as quizzes, are not uncommon, and allows further bonding in a non-work setting.  Of course, none of this is compulsory and should never be intrusive.  It is about setting the tone from the top to ensure that people are valued and, because our business is people, we imbibe this in our day-to-day culture.

I love coming to work. Most days it doesn’t feel like work (although some days can be more challenging than others).  But, I recognise that for others it is not necessarily joy-filled each and every day.   Whilst we have a positive working environment and culture, I recognise that it is also important to have set structures in place for my staff – an example of this is our HR lead, who is available to the team to talk confidentially about anything they may need.

Finally, Laurence Simons achieves this harmony by using our understanding of our psychometric testing programme, Lumina Sparks, where colours correspond to different traits and drives within you. Having this knowledge, and being aware of both who you are and who you aren’t, can make you a more empathetic and collaborative individual – essential for both home and work life.

Work-life harmony isn’t about bringing your work emails home to bed, or arriving at the office still in weekend-mode, but rather ensuring that the cyclical nature of work and home life feed into one another, rather than being two completely different parts of your life. The lessons and experiences you have in life should be allowed to influence both sides of you, creating a more well-rounded and successful individual.

Let us know how you feel you achieve your best work life harmony.

If you would like to read Bezos’ interview, click here.

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