The Yahoo story broke over the media beach like a Tsunami last week. You’d think the most important company in the world set the future direction for work. They aren’t and they didn’t. Silicon Valley and the rest of the world will go on as before and the shift to more flexible work will continue.
As someone who works from the road, home or office, the arguments for always being together be productive are just silly. We’re all different people with widely varying roles that make everyone’s circumstances a one-off.
Forget work-life balance
The idea of work-life balance isn’t really the issue. In a great article on Venture Beat, Brad Field describes how he and his wife find ‘work-life equilibrium’ that’s defined by the point where the work effort and the enjoyment of life are sustainable and good. ‘Work-life balance’ makes it sound like the two need to be balanced when the truth is they need to be integrated in a way that works for each individual. That’s different for everyone.
Despite the thousands of responses calling work from home people lazy or valiant, the cold hard truth remains…if you’re very good at what you do, you have influence on the time and place of your work effort. You and your choice of where to work set the equilibrium line. If you want to hug your kids more, you need to be truly excellent at what you do.
If organizations hold their people accountable for very tangible work, it becomes easy to see who’s excellent and who’s not. Excellent is in short supply and companies know it when they see it. They will pay for it and they will make allowances for the needs of those who are excellent.