What It’s Like Working for a Company That Gets It
And why I don’t plan to leave anytime soon.
Work-life balance. It’s a phrase that’s tossed around to entice potential employees and give employers a leg-up on the competition. But work-life balance is subjective. What I really want from my employer is independence and freedom. Freedom to work when it’s best for me, in a place where I’m most productive. Lucky for me, I’ve found an employer who supports that type of work environment. Here’s why I appreciate the culture they’ve fostered.
One size doesn’t fit all
The company I work for takes a unique approach to work-life balance. They understand that every employee has a different situation. No has the same family-life, obligations or priorities. So instead of demanding a rigid work environment and set rules for everyone, they’ve empowered employees to communicate their needs to ensure work gets done. It’s a simple and smart solution that many companies don’t embrace. Management trusts people to do their work, so there isn’t a lot of hand-holding and micromanagement where I work. Instead, the focus is on hiring competent, responsible people who get things done efficiently and effectively. That’s a win for everyone.
Support for working parents
I came to my current role as a content writer for a public relations agency from a corporate sales role. I hustled hard, put in long hours and traveled a lot. That worked out fine in my twenties before I had a family. But as I approached my thirties and started thinking about a family, I realized that lifestyle wouldn’t cut it anymore. I didn’t want someone else raising my kid while I spent stressful hours trading my time for dollars.
Lucky for me, I was laid off from my exhausting corporate job before my son was born. That’s when I started looking for more family-friendly career options. I accepted the role with my current employer, knowing that the environment would be much less demanding and stressful. I didn’t realize at the time that I was signing on with such a progressive, employee-focused company.
After my first year on the job, I got pregnant with my son. After a generous maternity leave, I was able to ease back into work with a part-time schedule before going back full-time. After a month of part-time work, I realized that I didn’t want to be a full-time employee anymore. I set up a meeting with my boss, asked for a part-time schedule, and within days it was granted. I didn’t feel scared or intimidated to ask for what I wanted, as I know that many women in the same situation often are. The culture at my company is progressive and open to creative solutions, both for their clients and employees.
Embracing alternative work schedules
After seven months of working part-time after my son was born, my family had the opportunity to move to Florida. My in-laws were there, and with a new baby, we decided that we could use the extra support. I knew that our cross-country move from Minnesota to Florida would mean that I would need to find a new job. I had anxiety about that because I enjoyed what I was doing, had a flexible work schedule and carried the family’s benefits at the time. I considered my options and decided that freelancing might be the best way to maintain control over my schedule. I prepared to put in my two-week notice, began looking into supplemental health insurance and stressed for months.
I set up a meeting with the director of our agency to announce our move and give my resignation notice. As I began my monologue, he interrupted and asked what I planned to do for work. I told him I wasn’t exactly sure. He asked if I might be interested in working remotely for the company. What? I was thrown off. This wasn’t what I had expected, and I hadn’t really entertained the idea of remote work. But since I was a writer, I could very easily do this job from afar, as my boss explained. I could keep my part-time schedule, my benefits and my pay. Crisis averted.
I was beyond grateful for this opportunity. The fact that my company was willing to grant me this flexibility spoke volumes about how much they valued my contributions. That meant just as much to me as keeping my job.
Even more flexibility
We finally got settled in Florida, and it became clear that my current work schedule wasn’t going to work for my family’s needs. My fiance was working second shift, which meant he wasn’t able to pick my son up from daycare at 3 in the afternoon anymore.
I asked my boss about adjusting my hours to work around our new daycare schedule. Without hesitation, he agreed with my proposal. I’m now working from home four days a week and off work by 3 pm to pick my son up from daycare. I’m earning a steady income, have a substantial benefits package and the flexibility to work around my obligations.
Advice to other companies
The moral of this story is, if companies want to attract and retain the best talent, they need to offer employees more than just hefty salaries and fantastic benefits. There are millions of people just like me that are trying to juggle the demands of their outside-of-work lives around a rigid 9 to 5 schedule. Most times, unsuccessfully. Flexibility often trumps salary for many employees, myself included. I know I could make more money at another job, but at this point in my life, flexibility is more important to me.
With the technology that’s available to collaborate from afar, companies have more freedom to consider alternative work environments. For me, working from home has increased my productivity. I used to work in an open-office setting that was loud and distracting for an introvert who is trying to write thoughtful, engaging content. Now I can get my work done faster, and I feel that the quality is better. And I’m still able to collaborate with my team members just as I did when I was in the office.
I was lucky enough to find a company who really gets it. They understand that less-stressed workers will do better work. They push employees to pursue their passions, whether they tie directly to work or not. They know that when employees feel supported, they’re more loyal and compelled to stay. When each person is treated individually and offered flexibility and freedom, everyone wins.