For anyone reading blog posts in this section of FastCompany, it is readily apparent that “Work/life balance” takes a variety of forms, explanations, perceptions and meaning. As I have written before, I do not believe that work/life balance means “50-50”. Balance is flexible in that some days I work 18 hours, other work days I take off (like today’s vacation day!). That’s balance for me. In the spirit of Halloween (that was an easy pun), I am going to address a scary topic: the difference between equal and equitable. This comes up often in the workplace: – the parent that leaves early from an important meeting to attend to a sick child, but you can’t do that for your dog. – the single employee that toils away with inhuman hours and takes on an over-capacity of work, and gets promoted…to the detriment of the employee who is equally qualified, but cannot put in the hours/capacity because they have children. – the single employee who gets asked to ‘stay late’ because they don’t have children. – benefits that appear skewed to families. Equal? No. Equitable? Yes. Organizations should work hard to make benefits and work/life balance equitable to all employees. This could take the form of special projects for those that want to pursue additional work hours – but those additional work hours shouldn’t necessarily be the sole reason for promotion. Get the idea? What do you think…equal or equitable?
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