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The Life-Work Sway

The Life-Work Sway
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I am part of the 30%. No, really.

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In a Gallop Poll in a State of the American Workplace Study, 30% admitted to honestly enjoying their job and their bosses.

No, I’m also not fishing for brownie points (mmmm….brownies) from Walk West (formerly Greenroom Communication’s) managing partners SharonKim or Penn. I just genuinely love our entire team. No, scratch that. Our entire family.

Obviously, Walk West (formerly Greenroom) is a pretty creative, quirky environment. Our office is downtown in the well-sought after Glenwood South region of Raleigh. We get to be a part of the Holderness silliness. We laugh, a lot. We have a fully stocked fridge with La Croix. If you’ve never been to our office, you haven’t yet experienced our POOetry wall in our bathroom. Our Christmas parties are quite legendary [and whatever happens at our Christmas parties, STAYS at our Christmas parties], i.e: Shenanigans.

We’re creative, we have fun, we work hard, and we’re all friends. There’s a reason why basically every person who starts working at Walk West (formerly Greenroom), stays at Walk West. All of these things + more makes for the best company culture EVER.

Most of us in the office don’t work a straight 9-5 work day in office. We have the mom who comes up with her best creative ideas while waiting in the carpool line mid-afternoon to pick up one of her 4 children. We have the mom who balances office hours three days a week, but spends the other days working-from-home to be around her toddler and baby. We have the Holdernii who aren’t in the office much, as they are here, there, everywhere! (That sounds a lot like a Dr. Seuss quote. Maybe they can do a Dr. Seuss parody for their next project).

Then there’s me. I fell in love with a soldier, moved from the Triangle to Ft. Bragg, and I make it up to the office once a week. Working from home allows me the flexibility to enjoy the last few months of entertaining my daughter before she starts Kindergarten in the fall (stop growing up, LilyAnn!) I also get the privilege to enjoy random days off my husband gets, which helps to offset the weeks/months the Army keeps him from me.

The point of my life story is the fact that I consider myself to be one lucky s.o.b. to get to work for this company.

I have the ability to have a rewarding career while getting to enjoy life, and all the milestones that come along with it. Being 29, I’m right smack dab in that part of life where my peers and I are blowing up our social media with engagements + marriages, baby announcements, and our children’s milestones.

With that, also comes a lot of posts about how being a parent, more specifically a mother, is the toughest job in the world and pressure with not enough time for work vs. not enough time for children and family debacle. Admit it, especially moms, you know what I’m referring to!

But not here.

As stated, right on our About Walk West (formerly Greenroom) page:

Walk West (formerly Greenroom Communications) was founded in Raleigh, NC in 2008 by Emmy Award winning television news professionals who wanted to transfer their talent into a creative career where they could see their families on a regular basis.

To which I tell our managing partners, THANK YOU. Thank you for creating a company that allows all of us here to have the ability to better manage life between work and family. For recognizing that having both a career AND a family IS possible. For setting a positive example on how modern day companies CAN be flexible with their employees and still be very successful.

A few of us ladies attended the Triangle AMA (American Marketing Association) Luncheon this past month, and the all-female panel was asked the question, “What’s the best advice anyone has ever given to you?”

Amy Pirozzolo, VP of Marketing at Fidelity Charitable, stated:

It’s not finding balance, it’s the ability to sway [between work and personal life]. Balance would indicate that you have equal parts of work and life at the same time, on a daily basis. However, I have personally found that it is easier, and less stressful, to manage a career by swaying. At certain times in your life you will have to be more focused on your family or your career. Taking this longer-term perspective helps you feel more satisfied about how you manage both work and life together!

That quote stood out to me, because it makes sense, and is just that simple. Walk West (formerly Greenroom) is great at allowing the sway, and more companies should recognize that view, too. I like to call it the Life-Work Sway.

According to Global Workplace Analytics, 80-90% of the US workforce say they would like the opportunity to work-from-home at least part time, with 2-3 days/week being the sweet spot to allow for a balance of concentrated work-from-home and collaborative work in the office. 50% of the working US holds a job that is compatible with at least partial remote work in some frequency.

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For all you money-crunchers and tree-huggers out there, this would mean a national savings of over $700 Billion a year, including:

  • A typical business saving $11,000 per person per year.
  • The work-from-home’er saving between $2,000 and $7,000 a year.
  • The greenhouse gas reduction being the equivalent of taking the entire New York State workforce permanently off the road.
  • The Congressional Budget Office’s estimate of the entire 5-year cost of implementing telework throughout government ($30 million) is less than a third of the cost of lost productivity from a single day shut down of snow for federal offices in Washington DC ($100 million).

What the WHAT? Yes, it’s all true. And as a healthy-crunchy myself, I cannot help but also mention the health benefits of having such flexibility as the life-work sway provides.

In a study done by Penn State, research showed that employees who had more control over their work schedules helped improve their sleep deficiency. Sleep deficiency has been linked to increased risk of automobile crashes, chronic disease and early mortality. Not to mention, “In the absence of sufficient sleep, we are not as attentive or alert, we process information more slowly, miss or misinterpret social and emotional cues and decision making is impaired,” said Orfeu M. Buxton, Associate Professor of Biobehavioral Health, Penn State.

In the study, there were two groups. The control group worked their normal shift and hours as they had before. With the other group, employees were encouraged to be completely flexible about when and where they worked, as long as they worked the same amount of hours as the control group. All of the participants wore a sleep-monitoring watch, a device that tracks movement to monitor periods of sleep.

At the end of the study, Buxton reported that changing the workplace culture could indeed increase the amount of sleep employees obtain.

Work can be a calling and inspirational, as well as a paycheck, but work should not be detrimental to health. It is possible to mitigate some of the deleterious effects of work by reducing work-family conflict and improving sleep.

You can read the entire press release of the study by visiting: Flexible work schedules improve health, sleep.

Look, I’m not living in a dream (although sometimes I feel that way!) and I know not every company has the ability to have a hybrid work structure like we do. However, if you run a company and you read this, I’m just asking you to take a second and reflect. It’s 2016. Get with the modern times, trust your employees are adults, and try allowing some flexibility in their schedule. Allowing the life-work sway will give you some much needed flex time, too!

After all, doesn’t everyone want an employee to write a blog about how much they love their job? Happy wife, happy life!

Wait, wrong saying.

Happy employee, more productivity!

….or something like that.

By: Karyann Hull, SEO & Content Specialist

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