There has been lots of talk recently about the home front and the home office - and it certainly raises an important issue, one that's close to my heart as a CEO, mother, wife, and daughter. In my opinion, it is possible to both go home and go big – however we define “big” in our lives.
Over the course of my career, I have been fortunate to work for companies that have put a premium on both talent and family life. To separate them is to sacrifice what our clients expect – the very best team. It is possible to thrive professionally, at the level one wishes, and enjoy a life outside the office, whatever that may be. Yes, there are days that are less than perfect – days that are chaotic everywhere -- but the only way for all of us to deal with these daily trials and tribulations is to work in an environment that recognizes we each have many lives and many people who depend on us.
To be great at work depends as much on what goes on inside the office as outside. As leaders, we cannot ask people to sacrifice one for the other. We have an expression at Zeno Group – family first. That's why we have teams that back each other up. Over and over, I have witnessed the impact a culture of humanity has on the firm and the work we produce for the clients who trust us with their business every day.
The core of this issue is not where we work or when we work. It is, quite simply, trust. Trusting one another to live up to and embody the firm's values everyday – be it from their desk or their kitchen table, which I do most Fridays, or wherever life takes them when work needs to go along.
Collaboration and face-to-face meetings are important, but that does not mean arrangements cannot and should not be made for those who need to tend to matters at home. The irony here is that giving people the flexibility to leave the office actually makes them more connected to achieving firm-wide success. Who doesn't want to work for and with a company that values humanity as much as they do the next big idea?
Cultivating and mentoring talent as professionals and people is a big idea. We owe our clients the very best thinking, flawless execution, and happy individuals.
Providing the freedom to get the job done at an unconventional hour or from afar goes a long way in nurturing a culture that everyone wants a part of. That, in turn, delivers work that matters, deep client relationships and, yes, some fearless fun along the way.
Barby K. Siegel is CEO of Zeno Group.