5 ways to build life design into business success

Progressive organisations will not get lazy and go for a ‘one-size fits all approach to remote working, as they understand that each employee is different. This should give consideration for greater levels of flexibility, even to the extent of where employees choose to live, writes Mark LeBusque

“Flexibility is the key to stability” – John Wooden

This quote sums up beautifully what many of us desire but few seem to achieve.

In the quest for stability, it seems we have missed the opportunity for flexibility and stepped closer to rigidity, therefore missing the chance to explore what I call ‘experimental adventures.’  New policies whilst dressed up as promoting flexibility, are really a way of keeping stings stable and at their very worst, rigid.

We are in some unique times right now where progressive and lateral thinking organisations can create an environment based on experimenting and getting creative about what it means to integrate all aspects of life design. In return, this can deliver increased efficiency, productivity and overall business performance.

The war on talent has gone to a whole new level. Retaining and attracting talent will require a whole new mindset that will challenge the old ways of thinking about workplace flexibility.

‘Life design’ is a concept that is complemented by what I call an ‘experimental adventure’. With some small changes in mindset, managers can unlock the potential of their employees through changing forever the absurd notion of work-life balance.

I experimented with the ‘life design’ concept with a team which started with a conversation about living a more enriched life.  This conversation eventually saw the incorporation of non-work-related goals in employee performance plans. Employee engagement reached well in the 90 per cent range and business results were 200 per cent ahead of target for two consecutive years.

Today I encourage my clients to adopt a more progressive approach in allowing employees to design a life that is not based on this week’s fad but is sustainable and delivers real bottom line results.

Here are five tips to create an exciting new approach to embracing real flexibility and the concept of an experimental adventure:

1. Replace work-life balance with life design – work is part of your life and for some reason we continue to separate them with this outdated term ‘work-life balance’. Work is an important part of life and should be recognised as part of life. Ditch the term and reduce the employee ‘eye-rolling’ moments. We’re all sick of it.

2. Allow for a real time assessment of current life design – we’re all caught on the hamster wheel of life and wonder at times where the 168 hours go. Undertaking a two-week life design audit is a great way to give permission for employees to get off the wheel and see what’s really going on. It’s like putting a line in the sand and using more than ‘I’m just busy’ as an excuse for poor life design.

3. See each employee as unique – progressive organisations will not get lazy and go for a ‘one-size fits all approach to remote working, as they understand that each employee is different. This should give consideration for greater levels of flexibility, even to the extent of where employees choose to live. Imagine that high performer Jenny has always dreamed of moving to Tasmania to move out of the big city grind and can still perform all of the duties required in her role? Nothing should be off the table here in the quest to retain and attract great talent.

4. Encourage honest conversations give your employees the opportunity to dream of how that can live, with what I call an ‘experimental adventure’ and permission to be honest about how they would like to design their life. This is a great way to connect at a deeper level and build foundational trust that has always been a little shaky under the old myth that ‘if I can’t see you then you can’t be productive’.

5. Build in a non-work performance goal(s)this is a big one and really shows the leap of faith in your employees and your care for them. Discuss with them one goal that is related to life, something that is achievable and not over the top that encourages them to embrace the concept of life design. In my experiment, Greg was rewarded for going for a walk on the beach with his partner twice a week. It shows that you see the human and not just the worker, and goes past the ‘keeping up with the joneses’ approach to new ways of working.    

It’s not just about agreeing that your employees can work from home two to three days a week. That’s a policy driven lazy approach to something that has so much more potential to turbo charge trust and create an environment that will have potential employees knocking down the door to join your business.

Work life balance as a concept is dead or at very best, on life support.

Work is part of your life…

Life design is the new way of working.

It starts with you making a few small changes in mindset to reap the rewards in igniting trust, efficiency, productivity and employee engagement.

Replace rigidity with real flexibility to enhance business stability.

What are you waiting for?

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