Time for a “One Life” Policy in the Workplace

There is no such thing as “Home Life” and “Work Life“.

We only have one life.

Traditional employers would like their team members to “leave your personal life at home”, while at the same time asking salaried team members to come in early, stay late, bring work home with them and check company email, read required books, or take phone calls outside of the office.

Now we’re asking our team members to help us engage in social media at all times (or at least we should be).

When does it end?

One Life Policy by Aaron Biebert

Obviously I don’t have a problem with taking work home, hence the 8pm Warrior concept. However, I do see a problem with the artificial line that some employers draw in the sand when you enter “their time.”

This often means:

  • Don’t take personal phone calls at work
  • Leave your troubles at the door
  • Don’t go on Facebook during work (unless we tell you to)
  • Don’t check your personal email at the office

…and other rules governing work life.

We only have one life, and ignoring that fact will cause problems for business leaders.

Here’s why:

  1. A “Caring Culture” is a more profitable one!
  2. Faking emotions causes major problems
  3. You can’t build a Culture of Caring if you don’t care about your team members first
  4. Caring about your team means caring about their whole life, not just work life

Yes, I practice what I preach.

In 2006 when I founded Clear Medical Solutions (Clear Medical Agency, HIM Circle, and the Clear Medical Network) we immediately implemented a “One Life” policy for our salaried office staff that stated:

“As a member of our team, we care about your whole life and recognize that we share a common journey.  Together, we have embarked on an exciting mission, and it will most definitely be a journey that goes home with you when you leave our office.

You only have one life, and even though we ask for a lot of it, we invite you to bring your home life with you to work.  Let us help carry the baggage.  One team, one dream. You are not alone.”

In practical terms this means:

  • Abolishing break time limits (i.e. one hour lunches, 15 minute breaks, etc.)
  • Flexibility with personal challenges (i.e. helping take car to auto shop, sick children, grieving, etc.)
  • Investing time to discuss home life
  • No restrictions on personal calls, checking personal email, or periodic personal use of social media.

In return, you should expect:

  • Your team will check their company emails, engage in company related social media channels, and take work related phone calls at home
  • Your team will be flexible for work challenges that arise (i.e. deadlines, crisis, product/service launches, etc.)
  • Your team will not abuse flexibility and take more than they give.

I know what some of my critics are thinking.  “What a circus!”  “I would love to see how many people abuse this type of policy.”  “How can you manage that?”

That’s the wrong way to think about it.

Bad people will always abuse things.  That’s why I don’t hire bad people.  If you adopt this policy, you have to be prepared to be better at recruiting and firing.  You will have to lead more, manage less.  Our “One Life Policy” went along with our “You Manage Yourself” policy.

At the end of the day it’s still about performance.  You shouldn’t hire or continue to employ people that don’t perform, and a one life policy only helps the responsible members of your team balance their life more successfully and openly.

Your employees have already implemented the policy on their own, they just are doing it secretly on their mobile devices, during “sick time”, and sneaking around to do what is natural.  Living one life.

It’s time you help them.

Have a great “one life”,

Aaron@Biebert

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