That work/life balance that everyone talked about for decades is now in the past. These days, the balance between work and life does not really exist. Why? Thanks to the world of technology, work and life are integrating more than ever before. And because of that, more and more companies are now offering their employees flexible work schedules.
It’s been proven that companies who offer flexible work schedules have employees who:
- Achieve more
- Get sick less often
- Work longer hours, but are happier
I’ve worked at three companies since I have graduated college. At my first job, I felt chained to my desk. I was unable to take my work home with me since I wasn’t provided a laptop. My second job had much more flexibility than that, but I was still expected to come into the office pretty much every day. It wasn’t until I made my way to Salesforce, my current employer, that I experienced what a flexible schedule is truly like. And let me tell you, there’s no going back once you have it!
I currently have the option at Salesforce to work from home whenever I want and work when it’s best for me – as long as I’m getting my work done and keeping my clients happy. I’m fortunate to have this flexibility and feel it’s truly increased my happiness and overall mood when it comes to both my work and life. Find out the reasons why below!
Work From Anywhere
I’ll never forget the words from the manager who hired me at Salesforce, five years ago: “You can work from anywhere. You can work from the beach, for all I care! All I ask is you get your work done.” It was a breath of fresh air. It was the first time in my career that I had a manager who trusted me to do my job, despite physically being in the office.
I love that I can work from anywhere I want (within range of WiFi, of course). Some days I’ll work from home and some days I’ll go into the office. There are some days where I just need a total change of scenery and will work from a coffee shop. Hell, I decided on a whim back in April of this year to visit my sister in Arizona and worked from there!
I’d say the best part about having a flexible schedule and not having to go into the office every day is knowing that I can work outside. Chicago’s good weather days are few and far between, so I definitely like to take advantage of them when they show up! My best work day is sitting on my condo’s back balcony while I knock out my work and sip on a drink (Tiesta Tea’s Maui Mango cold brew is my fave on a warm summer day). Being outside and enjoying the weather instantly increases my mood, so I do it as much as I can!
Avoid Commuting Woes
On the days I do commute into the office, I purposely avoid the rush hour times whenever possible. I get claustrophobic on the Chicago ‘L’ train when we’re packed in like sardines and have nearly fainted from it in the past. Needless to say, my flexible schedule has allowed me to commute when it’s best for me (aka when I know less people will be on the train).
And because I’m not required to go into the office every day, I get to skip the commute on the days I work from home! This has also allowed me to save money too since I’m not commuting downtown every day. Granted, it’s only $5 roundtrip, but that’s $25 for the week and $100 for the month if I was going in every day!
Be More Productive
I’ve found that the days I decide to work from home, I am actually more productive. A typical work-from-home day looks like this:
- Wake up and write in my gratitude journal
- Work on L&I tasks for about an hour or so while drinking a cup of coffee
- Eat breakfast
- Answer time-sensitive work emails
- Head to my morning barre or pilates class
- Begin planning my workday and projects to work on
- Take breaks throughout the work day doing things like unloading the dishwasher, doing laundry, cleaning the condo, preparing for dinner
As you can see, because I’m not commuting on those days, I have more time to do things that I enjoy, such as work on L&I and go to a morning workout class. Having that extra time in the day allows me to multitask and tackle more household related tasks too. I also find that I ask for more responsibility at work and take on more because I feel I have more time in the day to give to my company.
I’m more productive not only because I feel I have more time in the day, but also because I’m less distracted. If an environment isn’t working for me, I can pick up and move. With the emergence of open floor plans and hot desking, it can be difficult to concentrate at the office nowadays. It’s even been proven to make employees less collaborative. That’s why I’m glad I have the flexibility to work from my quiet office at home or my balcony, where all I hear are birds chirping!
Exercise At Any Time
I already alluded to this, but I like being able to schedule my workouts at any time. I’ve found I like going to classes around the 8:30/9am mark as they are less crowded, but I’m still able to get my workout done in the morning. My flexible schedule allows for this and doesn’t sacrifice my work, as I make sure to do what I need to with my job both before and after class. Going to my fitness classes when it works best for me has undoubtedly increased my happiness.
Overall, I not only feel happier, but I feel healthier too with my flexible work schedule. I exercise more and I also eat better too. I find that I eat healthier when I’m at home. I’m not tempted by the yummy snacks in my office or the occasional, “let’s grab lunch.” I also find I get up more throughout the work day too (something my Apple Watch never lets me forget). This is attributed to the fact that I’m doing things around the condo in between meetings.
It’s not just my physical health either that’s improved. As I write this, I believe my mental health is the best it’s ever been while holding a job.
Having a flexible work schedule has allowed me to live my life differently and for the better. I am fortunate to work for a company that values its employees and trusts us to get the job done, no matter where we are and what hours we work.
Does your company offer you a flexible schedule? What type of working environments and conditions work best for you and keep you happy? Let me know in the comments!
Kelly Nash is a Chicago-based writer, career coach, speaker and founder of Lipstick & Ink®. She also works full-time in technology as a Role Strategy and Employee Engagement Manager at Salesforce and has over 12 years of digital marketing experience. Kelly has been featured in Thrive Global, Chicago Tribune, International Association of Women, General Assembly, Salesforce, and SheFactor. She’s fueled by black coffee, sunshine, a good ink pen, and a bold lip.