Individual Work+Life Fit

Telework Week Myth Busters in Pictures (Infographic)

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Download or print infographic, HERE.

View complete survey report upon which the infographic is based, “It’s 10 a.m. Do You Know Where and How Your Employees are Working?

Listen to WSJ MarketWatch Radio interview, “The average telecommuter isn’t who you think it is,” where FSG/WLF CEO, Cali Yost, talks about the research.

NEW RESEARCH: Reveals Major Telework Myths and Growing Open Office Struggle

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As we approach Telework Week 2014 (March 3-7), new national research from the Flex+Strategy Group / Work+Life Fit, Inc. shatters common myths about who is working where and reveals new realities along with new struggles about how full-time employees get their work done.

Key findings from the research, which looks both at telework and the growing open office trend, are outlined in the press release below.

More Women Put in Hours at the Office and in Cubes While More Men Telework

Men outpace women by a wide margin when it comes to telework – doing work from home, business center or another location – while women are more likely putting their hours in at their employer’s office according to new research that dispels long-standing telework myths and explores the increasing struggles of the open office trend.

The Flex+Strategy Group/Work+Life Fit, Inc. (FSG/WLF) found that among a national probability survey of 556 full-time employed adults nearly one-third (31%) do most of their work away from their employer’s location, and nearly three out of four of those remote workers are men.

“Failure to understand how and where work gets done and by whom, and failure to support these operational strategies with the attention and resources warranted – including training and guidance — can compromise the optimal performance and wellbeing of both organizations and employees,” explains flexible workplace strategist and author Cali Williams Yost, CEO, Flex+Strategy Group.

Telework Stereotypes Don’t Match Reality

FSG/WLF’s research dispelled several telework stereotypes. The typical full-time remote worker is:

  • NOT a woman: Among those that telework, 71 percent were men.
  • NOT a parent: There is no significant difference between remote workers with or without kids.
  • NOT a millennial: There is no significant difference in the age groups of remote workers.

“Almost one-third of the work that gets done today gets done from home, coffee shops and other locations, yet too many corporate leaders treat telework as a disposable option, as in the case of Yahoo,” Yost explains. “Telework is not a perk and it’s certainly not just for moms and Gen Y. Rather, it’s an operational strategy. Think of it as anything less and organizations ignore what has become a vital part of their business and the way their people actually work.”

Open Office Spaces Take Toll on Work Life Flexibility

Back at the employer site, respondents reported doing most of their work either in a private office (30%) or a cube or open office space (33%) with women (43%) significantly more likely than men (27%) to work in cubes/open spaces. Overall, cube/open office workers struggle the most.

  • They were the largest group reporting less work life flexibility now than at this time last year (42%) when compared to their remote and private office colleagues, and of those who feel they have the least control over their work life flexibility, cube/open office workers were the largest percentage.
  • They were significantly more likely to say they didn’t use or improve their work life flexibility because “it might hurt your career/others think you don’t work as hard” when compared to remote workers. Yost believes worries about a “mommy track” stigma may be one reason why fewer women work remotely.
  • They received the least amount of training to help them manage their work life flexibility. Remote workers (47%) were significantly more likely to receive such guidance compared to those in cubes/open spaces (35%).

“As organizations continue to squeeze more people into less square footage, they will be increasingly confronted with the limitations of open office plans and forced to accept that work life flexibility is a solution to where, when and how employees can get their work done with greater focus and performance,” Yost says. “Whether they work remotely or together on site, we need to help employees develop the critical skill set needed to manage their work life fit so they can successfully capture the best of collaborative and remote work environments.”

More about the survey:

FSG/WLF’s latest biennial research was made possible with support from Quest Diagnostics, the world’s leading provider of diagnostic information services, a premier provider of lab-based employer wellness services, and an award-winning healthy employer of more than 40,000 people.

Findings and analysis are solely FSG/WLF’s and are based upon a survey conducted by ORC International with a margin of error of +/- 4 percent.

LIVE WEBINAR: Cali Yost and experts from Quest Diagnostics and Citrix will discuss these findings in a 30-minute webinar Thursday, February 27th at 2 p.m. EST. Register HERE.

Media Contact: Pam Kassner, pam@superpear.com, 414-510-1838

Students Challenge Singapore to “TWEAK IT” with Contest and Clever Video

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Here’s an experience to file under “You never know the impact of your words.”

This week I’ve shared highlights from my recent trip to Singapore (here and here), but nothing prepared me for this fun surprise!

A few weeks ago, I received an email from a group of students in Singapore who attend Wee Kim Wee School of Communications and Information at Nanyang Technological University.

They were inspired by my “Tweak It” message , and wanted to encourage people to capture the power of small, deliberate actions to find a better “fit” between their work and the other parts of life.

They asked if they could launch a “Tweak It” Singapore awareness campaign.  I said, “Go for it!”

Check out the smart, clever short animated video they created “5 Things Work Life Balance is NOT.” I love it!

Go TWEAK IT (sg)!

Simple, Universal Advice to Help Parents to Find Success, On and Off the Job

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One of the most interesting aspects of my trip to Singapore was observing the government’s active stance on work life issues.

Unlike in the U.S. where private industry often fights any attempt to legislate work life supports (e.g. paid sick leave days and parental leave), corporations and government agencies in Singapore have formed a true partnership.

Most likely, the motivation for this coordinated effort is the country’s critical labor shortage. Regardless, it was fascinating to watch.

My host, Lim Yit Siang, who is the Assistant Director of the Family Education and Promotion Division, Ministry of Social and Family Development (pictured here putting me on my 21+ hour flight back to the U.S.) asked me to answer a question frequently posed by parents (particularly mothers) about how to “do it all” and have success, on and off the job.

My response is universal and applies to anyone who has tried to fit work, kids and life together…no matter where you live!

“I am a full-time mother with 2 children in primary school. My workload in the office is rather heavy and I find it difficult to make time for myself and my family. What can I do to improve the situation? Is it really possible to “have it all” – a fulfilling career as well as an enriching personal and family life?”

When you are a mother who works at a busy job and has two young children, it can be overwhelming. Not only do I understand professionally, but I can relate personally. I am a working mother of two, as well!

That being said, my research and experience have proven that if you regularly follow a few simple steps, you can find a “fit” between your work and personal life that let’s you be your best (not perfect, but your best), on and off the job.

First, stop trying to find a perfect “balance” or to “have it all.” All you can achieve is your unique work+life fit based on your work and personal circumstances on a given day, week, month or year. This relieves some of the pressure to get it “right,” and helps you focus on the possibilities for you, your job and your family based on your realities now.

Next, harness the power of small actions to achieve your work+life fit goals. I call these small, meaningful actions “tweaks,” and in your case it sounds like the tweaks you want to make happen involve self-care and your family. Too often we think big changes are the only way to address our challenges, when really small actions, if taken consistently and deliberately, make all the difference.

Then, follow a simple weekly work+life fit practice to put your “tweaks of the week” into action. Twenty years ago, clocks and walls told us where work ended and the other parts of life began. But as technology exploded and the global economy expanded the clocks and wall disappeared. We all became much more overwhelmed trying to figure out what to do when.

I spent a number of years studying the people I’d meet in companies who seemed to effortlessly manage to fit their work and life together. I call them the work+life “fit” naturals.

I learned that they follow a few simple steps that I translated into a weekly practice found in my new book, TWEAK IT: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day. The practice entails spending about twenty minutes each week:

1) Celebrating success. Give yourself credit for what you have accomplished at work, in your personal life and in your career for the week. It’s often more than you think.
2) Reviewing what you need to get done in the coming week. What you’ve already committed in at work, in your personal life and with your career development. And identify open slots in your work+life fit that you could fill with some additional, meaningful “tweaks” in areas that are important to you right now.
3) Pick the “standard tweaks,” or habits, you want to make part of your work+life fit over the next seven days, but also think about any “unique tweaks” or special, one-off actions. In your case, the standard tweaks you might pick include spending 15 minutes of one-on-one time with each of your children in the evening, or cooking a special meal together on a weekend night. A unique tweak could be celebrating a friend’s birthday one evening. For tweak inspiration, visit my website www.tweakittogether.com. Over 50 work, personal life and career experts offer their advice.
4) Record your “tweaks of the week” in your combined work and personal calendar and priority list. Try not to keep two separate calendars/ “to do” lists. Combine everything into one and create a complete picture of what you want to accomplish on and off the job.

By regularly following these simple steps, you will build a solid foundation of well-being and performance that will help you feel more in control and less overwhelmed personally and professionally. Remember, just “tweak it!”

What would you add?

I invite you to connect with me on Twitter @caliyost and on Facebook to continue the conversation!

 

 

 

Top 10 Tips for Work+Life “Fit” Success in 2014

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Preparing to participate in the TODAY Show’s #DoingItAll series with Maria Shriver, made me think about the tips I’d want to share with everyone to help them be their best, on and off the job, in 2014.  So, here they are!

1) The goal is work+life fit, not balance. A perfect 50-50 split between your work and your personal life doesn’t exist.  And, for many people, “integration” is not the solution. It is the problem. They want work and life as separate as possible. Whether blended or separate, lots of work or a little, find your work+life “fit” or the way work fits into your life based upon your unique work and personal realities at a particular time.

2) Your employer can’t give you your work+life fit. Whether you have flexibility and support in your workplace or not, you still need to make your everyday work+life fit happen as deliberately as possible. And our research continues to prove most of us aren’t following the simplest steps that would make a big difference in our personal well-being and professional performance.

3) You have to learn how to manage your everyday work+life fit, flexibly and intentionally. It’s a modern skill set we all need to succeed, but few of us have. We are not taught how to put small, strategic boundaries up and allocate our time, money and energy across all the areas of our life. And we need to learn. What does that skill set look like? The Tweak It practice is one example of an everyday work+life fit how-to, while Work+Life is a process to create a formal flexible work plan that resets your work+life fit.

4) See all of your work, career and personal “to dos” as a big, beautiful buffet of possibilities.  We are too reactive to everything that comes at us daily. Reframe all of those endless “to dos” and see them as part of a big, beautiful buffet.  You can’t eat all of the dishes at once, even though most of us try to.

5) Set aside 20 minutes each week to reflect what you need to do and want to do at work, in your career and in your personal life.  This is where you will figure out how many servings you can take from which dishes on your work, career and personal life buffet to be your best over the next seven days.  Again, our research shows most of us don’t ask these simple questions.

6) Take small, meaningful actions, or “tweaks,” to close a gap between what’s happening in your work+life fit and what you want to have happen. Too often, we think a huge change is required to resolve the everyday overwhelm we feel. When the truth is a cup of coffee with a friend, doing your grocery shopping for the week online, or getting your haircut can make a big difference. But, once again, our research shows most of us don’t do this.

7) Keep a combined work and personal calendar and priority list.  You’ve identified the small, meaningful actions, or “tweaks,” you want to make in key areas over the next seven days. Now add them to a calendar and priority list that displays both your work and personal “to dos” for the week in one place. That way you are making decisions throughout the day based on a complete picture of what you want to accomplish on and off the job.

8) Good time management, or “what” you are going to do “when” is not enough. You have to think about “where” and “how” you will complete a particular tweak if you want it to happen.

9) Help each other! Life is way too fast-paced, and complex to think that we can go it alone and achieve success and well-being without any help. We have to work together to achieve our unique work+life fit goals in a mutually beneficial way. Want to try to walk for 30 minutes at lunch three times a week? Ask a colleague to cover for you, and then offer to cover for them if they have an important “tweak” they want to accomplish.

10) Celebrate success. If you choose seven additional work, career, or personal life tweaks for the week, but only accomplished five because of a customer crisis at work, and then your daughter got sick, celebrate the five you achieved. Perfection is not the goal. Life happens. Celebrate what you do get done, because it’s probably more than would have happened if you didn’t choose at all.

Here’s to a 2014 full of personal and professional success!

Related article: Fast Company–5 Insanely Simple Work Life Balance Shortcuts from People Who “Have It All” 

I invite you to connect with me and add to the list of “tips” in the comments section, on Twitter #worklifefit or on our Facebook page.

TODAY Show #DoingItAll Series–Links, Highlights and Gratitude

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What an exciting week!

It was an honor to participate in the #DoingItAll series on the TODAY Show in support of Maria Shriver’s important, groundbreaking, The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink.

Many of you have asked for links to the segments and key takeaways…so here you go!

Tuesday: Two Amazing Women #DoingItAll

First, on Tuesday, I worked with two truly remarkable women who epitomize what it means to “do it all.”

Both of these women approach the challenges in their lives with courage, persistence, optimism and humor. They inspired me.

Watch and listen to their stories and my advice (video links below):

How to set productive boundaries: Teleworking, independent marketing consultant and single mom of two

How to ask for help and take small, doable, intentional steps: Small business owner, and single mom of three 

 

Wednesday: #DoingItAll Help-a-thon

Then, on Wednesday, a group of finance, health, legal, career and life experts gathered in the TODAY Show studios to answer questions posted by viewers on email, Twitter and Facebook.

We were there from 7 am to 12 pm est. You have not seen a more dedicated group of people. We tried our best to answer as many of the hundreds of often very difficult, emails, tweets and posts that people sent in.

In this picture, Hoda and Kathie Lee pay us a visit in the Orange Room during their show. The experts pictured (starting from the bottom left) are Dale Atkins, Sylvia Ann Hewlett, Carmen Wong Ulrich, Dr. Janet Taylor.  Then in the back row (starting on the right), Dr. Roshini Raj, Valorie Burton, Lisa Bloom, and then me.

Down in the main studio were Dr. Nancy Snyderman, Sharon Epperson and Dr. Gail Saltz.  And in Washington, D.C. with Maria Shriver, were Ellen Galinsky and Jean Chatzky.

#DoingItAll Series Gratitude

As I reflect on the experience, here are the three things I am most grateful for:

Maria Shriver: I am grateful that she used her powerful platform and voice to draw attention to the realities of millions of women (and men!) who are trying to do it all under very difficult circumstances.  If you haven’t done so already, read  The Shriver Report–A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink, and take at least one or two of the “next steps” outlined in the study. (And yes, she is as smart, nice and cool in person as she appears on television.)

TODAY Show: For sharing the stories of real women who are #doingitall and then trying to connect viewers with the resources they need.

The people I met who truly care and want to make a difference: From Maria Shriver, to the TODAY Show producers, to the experts participating in the Help-a-thon, to the participants in The Atlantic’s day-long symposium streamed live yesterday, people care. Individually, we may be limited in what we can do, but together we can make a difference. And it starts with caring…I saw that in spades.

Finally, as I prepared for the segments and the Help-a-thon, I thought about what I wished everyone knew to help them manage work and life, better and smarter, in 2014.

So, stay tuned…next week I will share my “Top Ten Work+Life Fit Tips for 2014.”  And I want to hear your ideas, too!

Together, we can succeed while we’re #DoingItAll.

Want to continue the conversation between posts?  I invite you to connect with me on Twitter @caliyost and to visit/like our Facebook page.

 

TODAY Show–#Doing It All, The Shriver Report

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This week is special, so you will hear from me a bit more than usual over the next few days.

On Sunday, Maria Shriver officially released the findings from her new, groundbreaking, The Shriver Report–A Woman’s Nation Pushes Back from the Brink. 

In addition to the report (which I highly recommend), on Wednesday 1/15, you can tune in to the day-long symposium in Washington D.C. hosted by The Atlantic and streamed online.

But the launch events don’t stop there.

To support the study, the TODAY Show has partnered with Shriver to offer how-to advice and support to the majority of women in the U.S. who are “doing it all”, but especially the 1 in 3 who are near or at the brink of poverty.

Not everyone works for the forward-thinking organizations that ask me to consult with their leadership and share strategies with their employees; therefore, I am always looking for ways to spread the “work+life fit” message more broadly, especially to those who need it the most.

So, I was thrilled when the TODAY Show approached me to be a member of the team of experts who will appear this week to offer advice to real women struggling with the everyday overwhelm of jobs, kids and life.

While programming is always subject to last minute changes, it looks I will help two women on Tuesday. One will be in a segment we taped in December (see above) with a terrific mom in Houston, and the other will happen live in the studio with Hoda and Kathie Lee.

Then on Wednesday, I will join a team of finance, health and career experts for the TODAY Show’s first-ever LIVE “Help-a-thon”. We will answer questions live on email, Twitter and Facebook, so check it out and participate from 7 am to 12 pm est. Jump in, ask questions and offer your advice! Follow #DoingItAll.

The reason you will hear from me more frequently this week is that I’m going to kick-off the “Helpathon” on Wednesday by sharing the first five of my “Top Ten Work+Life Fit Tips for 2014.” Then, I will follow up on Thursday with the final five tips, and an insider’s recap of the Helpathon experience.

Together, we can make a difference for everyone (men and women) “doing it all”!

I invite you to connect with me on Twitter @caliyost and on our Facebook page.

Gen-Y: “Promote Yourself” to Get the Work Flexibility and “Balance” You Desire

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Trust me, my corporate clients recognize that Gen-Y/Millennials place a high premium on work-life “balance” and flexibility in the when, where and how they do their jobs.  

What those same corporate clients don’t 100% trust is that their under 30 year old employees understand that the secret to “balance” and greater flexibility is…performance and results.

In other words, if you consistently deliver and “do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it,” fewer people are going to stand in your way if you want to work from home one day or shift your hours (assuming it makes sense for your job).

But how do you achieve that optimal level of performance and deliver those results in today’s workplace so that, in turn, you can achieve your goals, on and off the job?

In every generation, there will always be people who don’t want to make the effort.  But my experience has been that most millennials are willing to work hard.  They just need someone to lay out what that looks like in action, because the secrets to success that worked for their 50 year old boss, aren’t necessarily going to work for them.

Dan Schawbel’s new book, “Promote Yourself,” is a great place to start.  It offers an honest roadmap, like his “14 rules of the new workplace that millennials need to master“:

  1. Your job description is just the beginning.
  2. Your job is temporary.
  3. You’re going to need a lot of skills you probably don’t have right now.
  4. Your reputation is the single greatest asset you have.
  5. Your personal life is now public.
  6. You need to build a positive presence in new media.
  7. You’ll need to work with people from different generations.
  8. Your boss’s career comes first.
  9. The one with the most connections wins.
  10. Remember the rule of one.
  11. You are the future.
  12. Entrepreneurship is for everyone, not just business owners.
  13. Hours are out, accomplishments are in.
  14. Your career is in your hands, not your employer’s.
Millennials, if you follow these steps, you are much more likely to hear “let’s give that flexibility you want a try,” rather than the often unfair and misguided “you just don’t want to work hard.
To learn more about Dan Schawbel and “Promote Yourself”

How to Beat the Back-to-School AND Back-to-Work Crunch!

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We know it’s coming – the dreaded back-to-school crunch – but every year we seem to be caught off guard. Plus, as we struggle with the beginning of a new school year, work projects on hold for the summer suddenly go into overdrive as fourth quarter/year-end is just around the corner.

It’s a double whammy recipe for disaster unless moms and dads take action now.

As I explain in my new book, Tweak It: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day, (Center Street/Hachette), parents can get ahead of the mayhem by adding these simple “tweaks” to their weekly work+life fit check-in the last couple of weeks in August:

First, identify, breakdown and plan the back-to-school activities typically encountered every year. For example:

  • Add 2013-2014 school dates into your calendar, including extra-curricular sport and activities.
  • If your kids haven’t started school yet, review the “summer pre-work” your child may have and count back from the first day of school to set a reasonable schedule for completion. Minimize the last minute all-nighters.
  • Buy school supplies early, before the line is out the door and the shelves are picked clean (I seem to find myself in those lines every year!)
  • Take advantage of back-to-school sales to buy a couple of basic needs but count on shorts and t-shirts for the first few weeks. Saves money and unworn clothes in the closet.

Next, think about projects and responsibilities at work that will require attention after Labor Day:

  • Sit down with your boss to clearly identify projects and priorities for September and October.
  • Ask if there is anything you and the team could do to prepare and get a jump-start on. Right now, we are planning for upcoming consulting projects and speaking engagements that will gear up after Labor Day.
  • Share dates you may need to take off or have additional flexibility around back-to-school, such as first day(s) of drop off and pick up.
  • Leave the evenings and weekends the week before and two weeks after the start of school as free and uncommitted as possible.
  • If you have to schedule out of town travel or evening work activities, make sure you coordinate with your partner or friends for child care coverage well in advance. I have a trip to San Francisco the week after my kids start school, but I am already thinking about what I need to arrange before I leave.

A little bit of thoughtful planning, discussion and action now, can limit the back-to-school stress, and the fourth-quarter work frenzy later.

What do you do to beat the back-to-school AND back-to-work crunch?

If you haven’t done so already, I invite you to connect with me on Twitter @caliyost and to “like” our Facebook page.

Yes, Small Biz Owners CAN Work and Have a Life Too! Tips and Challenges

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If I am completely honest, one of the primary motivations for writing TWEAK IT, was to learn how to make what mattered to me happen every day, on and off the job.

I am an entrepreneur/small business owner.  While there are many wonderful benefits to my chosen professional path, there are a few downsides.

For me, and for many small business owners I meet, one of the biggest challenges IS managing our work+life fit. 

Perhaps we have a greater degree of flexibility and control, but we often have more limited resources–time, people and money.  Therefore, it is very easy to fall into the traps like:

“I’ll just send one more email, and then have dinner with my family.” But then dinner’s over, or

“I can go to the gym tomorrow because I need to finish this proposal.”  Then you realize you haven’t moved your body in three weeks.

After researching and writing TWEAK IT and then following the simple weekly work+life fit practice myself for that last few years, I believe small business owners can work AND have a life.

We just have to be a bit more intentional about it. 

So I was thrilled when VISA Small Business approached me to be the featured expert on their Facebook page last month!

I offered entrepreneurs/small business owners seven of my best work+life fit tips and challenges.

VISA transformed them into such beautiful graphics, I had to share.

What other tips and challenges would you offer?

Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge #1:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Tip #4: