Let's face it, life is precious and time is short. We live in a crazy breakneck-speed world where work-life balance is tough to find. Commuting to work takes hours instead of minutes, meetings occur at every hour of the day and there are no real "days off." In my opinion, something has got to give if we are to avoid collectively losing our minds and breaking our souls. Luckily, many companies are beginning to align their corporate values and employee productivity tools to allow employees to better manage their work and their lives.
Is this your view in the morning?
We still have a long way to go. I hear friends talk about working until midnight or commuting for three hours in one direction. I honestly don't know how they do it. I know I couldn't. You see, I'm at a time in my life when I've lost my ability to compartmentalize. It's not work... then home... then family... it's all one big squishy bucket called life. My work and my life needs to be manageable together. In fact, rather than work-life balance, what I really need is work-life integration.
Case in point: this morning. I woke up at the crack of dawn to make sure my teenage son was up and getting ready for school with enough time for his 7:30 am drop off. My daughter needs to get to school by 8:15 am so I had a little more time with her. My remodeling contractor and electrician were also due at my house at 8:30 and 9 am respectively. So I'd have just enough time to drop off my son, return home to answer a few emails, drop off my daughter, then return home again to meet the contractors. After that, I had a JiveWorld team meeting at 9 am, a community meeting at 10 am, a meeting with a vice president at 11 am and another meeting at 1 pm. Sprinkle in a handful of video meetings with people in Portland, Austin, San Diego, and Denver. It's pretty obvious that there was no room in my morning for an hour-long commute to Jive's Palo Alto office.
This is the most precious moment of my day.
Sure, I could hand off my kid-care duties to other parents or friends. But if you have teenagers you know that getting them to actually talk to you (and not simply rely on interpreting their Instagram feeds) is GOLD. And the time that they are mostly likely to chat is when you are both slightly focused on something else, like driving to and from school. There's no way I would trade these precious moments of insight into their worlds in order to find time for a commute to the office. And while the remodeling part of my life will go away eventually, there will always be something to interrupt the flow of an 8 to 5 workday in the office.
Some people argue that the eight hour work day is dead; that it is a product of a previous generation where light and technology and health care plans needed to be corralled together for the greatest good. It hearkens back to a time when most workers needed direct management in daily cog-tightening and conveyor belt rolling. With the advent of many new technologies, the movement to more knowledge management workers to the workforce, and increasing numbers of freelancers on the payroll, people are finding they can bring more balance to their work life by making up their own hours and managing their own careers. The focus is more on an employee's results as opposed to how many hours they spend in the office.
I believe that Jive is leading the way in shifting the way that people work. Our company leaders value work-life integration: being able to balance life responsibilities while still getting work done. We've made that obvious with posts like Heart over Headquarters | Elisa Steele | LinkedIn and Exceptional Culture Shapes Exceptional Products. With its unique combination of culture and products, Jive employees can choose their own workstyle and the resulting differences are supported.
Here are three key ways that Jive's company culture makes balancing work and life possible:
- Work WHERE I need to be. As mentioned above, there's little chance I can be in the office by 8 am. The only way I can optimize my time working and still be able to be there for the rest of my duties is because I can work where I need to be. What makes that possible? Besides the company culture, Jive offers a system of tools that work together to make it easy to connect, communicate and collaborate while I'm waiting to pick up my kids from school, at my desk at home or in the Palo Alto office.
- Work WHEN I need to work. As a community manager, I need to be able to work around the clock without actually working around the clock. I'm able to address employee queries at 7 am from my Jive Chime application on my phone. Then after taking the kids to school, I can log into the Jive Community to write blog content or answer community questions. Later on the same night, I'll connect to the Jive Cloud Admin in order to update the community after most users have logged off.
- Work HOW I need to work. You hear it every where you go, the future of everything is mobile. While I draw the line at taking video calls while driving, I do appreciate the fact that nearly everything I need to do for my job is possible on mobile. I can pop my phone in my back pocket while walking my dogs and know that people can contact me on Jive Chime for community help. Now that we are on Jive version 8, we're optimizing each place in the Jive Community to be mobile friendly, so connecting to member discussions and questions is easier than ever. And if I need an update on the latest company priorities? That's mobile as well with the Jive Daily app. Finally, if I need to find someone to answer a question, I carry the company directory in my pocket with Jive Circle.
And yes, all of my mobile devices are pink because that's also part of my #workstyle.
My work-life integration has come a long way in the last few years. Every day I thank my lucky stars that I work for a company like Jive.
Do Jive's platform and tools help you to create a more balanced schedule and life for yourself? I'd love to hear how work-life balance is working out for you.
And for your further enjoyment, I like to call this... "Car Dancer and the Jibberjabber"