Finding Harmony

News, Summer 2016

Businesses Get Creative with Solutions

BY MELANIE MORRISSEY CLARK

When I started writing stories on flexibility in the workplace in the early 1990s, they always centered on working mothers and their need to balance career and child care responsibilities. Throughout that decade, there seemed to be a constant struggle—with employers pulling one way, and working mothers pushing the other direction.

Where, I wondered, will it all end? In some cases, it ended with women simply throwing in the towel and staying home with their kids. Others stuck with it, making strides where and when they could.

Fast forward to 2016, and it seems that maybe, just maybe, all of that pushing and pulling has paid off—and not just for women who are raising children.

Now—thanks not only to legions of working women, but also to Millennials and an increasing number of engaged, involved dads—work-life harmony is something everyone desires.
As a result, many businesses and individuals are getting creative with ways to make this happen.

And while flexible scheduling, working remotely and job sharing are among these solutions, in some companies, that’s not all. Healthy snacks, wellness programs and employee concierge programs are increasingly becoming part of the mix.

In this issue of Today’s Omaha Woman, we delve into solutions for work-life harmony and ask, “What does it take to create a happy, productive work environment?”

As the owner of a small business, I read with interest the innovative programs area companies have come up with to keep their employees engaged, happy and healthy. One Omaha company has a designated person on staff whose sole job is to run personal errands for other staff members, with the intent of allowing everyone to stay focused on their work. Another local business gives select employees “excellence awards” in an elaborate ceremony, and sends recipients on company-sponsored vacations.

These companies take work-life harmony—and their company cultures—very seriously. They have learned that treating people well and with respect makes them loyal and highly productive, and that this translates into overall company success.

Admittedly, companies that go this far are not the norm. But their example is sure to get others thinking, and maybe even following suit, at least in some ways. And that, my friends, is progress. W

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