A Friend In Need

If your friend needed you right now, could you be there for him? I had lunch with a long-time friend today. There were things in her life that she needed to talk out, get advice on, and generally have someone there to listen to. She has hit a phase in her life where she wants to straighten things out and, if you will, grow up a bit. Some of these issues are similar to ones that I’ve dealt with in my life, and , as she puts it, I am very good at staying objective on a subject until I have both sides. Lunch and this conversation made sense.

I was blessed to be able to do this because I am in control of my schedule. Outside of the needs of my children, including school and childcare, I am unrestricted in the way I can schedule my life and move around my responsibilities. This is due to two awesome facts. The first is that I have a very loving, reasonable, and supporting wife that allows me to schedule meetings at odd hours and that may go on for unknown lengths of time. The second is that I am my own boss. While many people may have the first, not everyone is right for the second. Not everyone can or should be their own boss.

I had the opportunity to be around my kids a lot. I guess I could have kept working, but I had them when I was 47. You only get to see all this stuff once. I just chose to work at home and watch them.

– Bob Seger

Not everyone is cut out for an entrepreneurial life. It can be stressful, confusing, and relentlessly demanding. It takes a certain personality internally to push for ownership. For some, being an employee is an absolute best fit, and that’s a good thing. However, just because ownership isn’t for everyone doesn’t mean that job flexibility isn’t. As owners, we have an opportunity in most cases to take advantage of the idea of workplace flexibility.

Right now, most of the business world is questioning whether or not offices will exist in the next 20 years. That may be a new idea for you, or it may be exciting. What matters here is the reason this question exists. Employers are finding that workplace flexibility, including unset schedules and work-from-home situations, created employee longevity, loyalty, and increased productivity. Giving your employees the ability to be with a friend in need without requesting time off or calling in sick is proving to be more of a boon than a burden.

Consider the statistics that Quartz magazine reports. They state that two-thirds of stay-at-home workers report higher productivity when telecommuting. They also report the increase in trend at companies like Xerox and Aetna. Once you’re done checking out that survey, you can look at James Fell’s account of the benefits of being a stay-at-home work-from-home dad, a subject that is near and dear to me. Then, consider empowering your employees to help that friend.

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About the author:

Michael McNew
Web developer, marketing innovator, technology enthusiast, and founder of Visceral Concepts, Michael McNew has developed a passion for delivering value to small business, turning his creativity towards image and reputation building for small business owners.