unrealistic to think we’ll ever obtain a perfect balance.” However, it is reasonable, she said, to assume that employer and employee can find a sustainable rhythm built on mutual trust, hard work and rising to the occasion. “The work is changing, the way we work is changing, the workforce is changing,” she said. “And it is prudent and responsible to be pivoting with those changes.” Even with these life-friendly work policies, Schiller said,
the grind is still hard, and companies still expect a lot from their employees. A worklife balance has nothing to do with coddling. “Not everyone can work in this culture,” he said. “There is more than enough work to do,” Schiller said. “You could work 24-7, and there would just be more. And it’s partially because we have 72 people and a grand vision and world-class health care organizations as clients. There’s just a lot there. And
so for individuals who are achievement oriented, highly motivated, it is really easy to pour everything into the company, and that does lead to burnout.” He continued: “The last thing we want is burnout. It’s awful for everyone. Nobody functions like they want to, they are not as creative as they want to be. And that creativity loss is huge. And they are going to start feeling resentful, they are going to get chippy with fellow employees. It’s really important that the managers recognize when that happens.” Just as important, he said, is to get out of the way. “We have a ‘get stuff done’ policy,” Schiller said, and “don’t want to be a company that micromanages how and when people get things done.
“If you can get your stuff done and meet the commitment you said you’d meet, and you want to work remotely part time to do that, that is perfectly fine. That was something that was important to us – treating our employees like adults, trusting them to make the right decisions.” Hough agrees. “We are all very clear about our roles and responsibilities, and how I get my job done is up to me. I choose where I work. And if I need to take my child to the doctor, I do that. But, I still get my job done. It’s prudent that we recognize that we are hiring adults.” She added: “Now, if workers don’t get their work done? Well, that’s a performance issue. And that’s a different conversation.”
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Economic Development • Clean & Safe • Placemaking
Companies offering flexible workspaces like The Frontier in Research Triangle Park, above, help their workers release stress and build autonomy, business leaders say.
115 Market St. #213 • Durham, NC 27701 • 919.682.2800 downtowndurham.com
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