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The world over the traditional family (the one with at-home spouse) is rapidly being replaced with the family in which both spouses work. In some families in my city of Bengaluru, ( earlier called Bangalore) for example, it is not uncommon to have both spouses as well as grown up children working. In joint families you could have the father and mother still working, the young son and his wife working and the daughter working as well. Imagine the rush in that house in the mornings!

I have known young mothers foregoing career growth options to meet family responsibilities. They do not wish to relocate because of the chaos that will follow in their family if they were to do so. Others prefer to do the bare minimum and not stretch – again because of family responsibilities. In one organisation, out bound retreats were stopped I was told, because young people were not in favour of out of town trips which meant staying away from the family- even for one night!

Many organisations are trying to ease the pressure by adopting some kind of flexible options- in terms of timings, work assignments etc. However, at the end of the day, work must get done and results achieved. Employees must be as understanding of the organisation’s requirements as organisations must be of employee requirements.

“It’s very unfair” said a lady to me “ A man less experienced than me has been given higher responsibilities. I should have been given the higher grade. I am senior to him”. She was right –to a point. She had been longer in the organisation than him. But what she conveniently forget was that he was contributing far more. She was already working on flexi timings, she did not want to re-locate, leave alone moving out of the city, she would prefer to remain in the same facility ( as the commute was far less).

How could she then, I wondered, expect the same growth prospects as some one else who probably was doing much more?

In another organisation, I was horrified to find that “Work from Home “opportunities were being offered to relatively inexperienced people merely to bring down the infrastructure pressure. I pointed out that on the contrary the best and most experienced people who wanted such a n arrangement should be the first choice. Working from home demands far stringent standards of discipline and work ethic apart from sheer competence. Employees can’t opt to work from home and yet get the constant attention and guidance from their supervisors working somewhere else.

It seems that the best solutions will come from organisations and employees alike being willing to be flexible.

Like the old phrase “ It Takes Two to Tango”, let me say “ It Takes Two to Flex”. Work out an arrangement with your organisation which is mutually beneficial. Both organisation and employee would do to remember that they can’t have the cake and eat it too!

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This is the 110 th of the “A Step A Day” series : To provide perspective and provoke thought to facilitate self-development across a wide spectrum of issues- big and small- crucial for executive success.