Question : Joe (not his real name) has risen through the corporate : 3504
Joe (not his real name) has risen through the corporate ranks to become an executive at a major bank. He thought his workload would become lighter as he moved up, but the opposite has occurred. He now works 6 or 7 days a week, from multiple locations. He keeps an apartment in New York and is on the road another 3 or 4 days per week. Only on weekends does he see his wife and three children, who live in Connecticut.
Does this sound like fun to you? No? Well, you are not alone. Although some ambitious individuals are willing to sacrifice their personal life to satisfy their ambition, a growing number are not. According to a recent survey by the Association of Executive Search Consultants (AESC), 85 percent of recruiters have seen candidates reject a job offer because it lacked work–life balance.
For companies competing for talent, it is becoming increasingly important to provide work–life balance in the positions they are seeking to fill. The AESC survey revealed that two-thirds of companies are developing programs to help top recruits increase their family time without sacrificing their careers.
Job candidates are learning that they can bargain with their employer for more than money. Lisa Patten, a director at the accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), proved this point when she was being recruited from her previous employer. Because she was not dissatisfied with her former employer, she compiled a list of requests to PwC that included a 4-day workweek so she could spend more time with her children, and the flexibility to work from home if not on a client visit. PwC did not hesitate to approve these flexible work conditions for Patten.
Although Patten’s productivity in terms of billable hours and new business brought to the firm increased, PwC has found that flexible work is not a good fit for every employee. It reports that employees most likely to be given flexibility in work hours and location are those who are disciplined and self-motivated and have a clear set of performance measures to ensure accountability.
Critical Thinking Questions
2-13. Which types of jobs are best suited for flexibility with regard to hours and office location? Which types of jobs are less likely to afford this type of flexibility? Explain.
2-14. Earlier in this chapter, you learned that most work in today’s workplace is now being done by teams of employees. In your opinion, does the intensive use of self-managed teams make it easier or more difficult for employees to achieve work–life balance? Explain.