It’s been said for generations that bringing your life to work is frowned upon. It was clearly stated that work is for work and if you want to interject something that is happening in your life, do that after work or during lunch or the small talk portion of meetings, but work is for working. And if you had a problem with your kids, finances, parents, spouse, or another ‘life’ issue, those were to be left at the door as well.
But can anyone expect employees to spend a third of their life in robot mode? Well some do, which is short sighted. Igniting passions and embracing differences can garner remarkable results.
While we see four generations trying to mix cultures in the workplace plus more telecommuting, virtual teaming, technology, and flex time, we are seeing a shift and the process may not be going smoothly in many cases.
I’m not a fan of stereotypes but generally the older employees are more resistant to change while the younger employees adapt quicker. Yes, there are exceptions, but working all the time isn't healthy at any age.
My friend and colleague Mitch Joel has said for years that he doesn't believe in the old saying - this is business, don't take it personally. He and his partners deliver to clients while providing a creative atmosphere for their staff and they take that personally.
Fast Company published a short piece back in 2005 entitled Making Business Personal where they made the case of balancing time between life and work priorities which states; “Take more of these opportunities to make business more personal, and please don't think your professional contacts will think less of you. In fact, usually the opposite happens. In most cases, this blurring of personal and professional lives seems to be good for business and good for our families, our friends, and ourselves.”
This isn't to suggest comfy lounge chairs and basketball nets in the boardroom will create a collaborative culture but blending generations, mixing perspectives, and allowing life to permeate your company will make it personal and that’s a good thing.
Make your business personal and your team will reciprocate.
Kneale Mann | Leadership and Culture Strategist, Writer, Speaker, Executive Coach engaging leaders to build successful talent and profitable business.