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The now famous 30-second speech given by the former CEO of Coca Cola Bryan Dyson (86-91), identified work as one of five components of life. It went along the lines of:

Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling five balls in the air. You name them – Work, Family, Health. Friends and Spirit – and you’re keeping all of these in the air. You’ll soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls- Family,Health,Friends and Spirit – are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed,marked,nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for it. Work efficiently during the office hours and leave on time. Give the required time to your family, friends and have proper rest. Value has a value only if it’s value is valued.

Life today is very different from the 1980s. Technology has made the world a much smaller place. Communication methods are constantly evolving and a vast amount of people post their every movement and interaction on some form of social media to share with the world. But that in itself is a whole other conversation!

Work is also a much more fluid environment nowadays. My colleagues are spread over 4 different time zones, with customers and suppliers in numerous others. But with the range of devices now available we are practically contactable 24/7 almost anywhere in the world. So I ask the question: “Are we truly ever off the clock?”

Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s amazing that we can be at home, out for a walk, having dinner with friends or doing any number of things and can solve an issue or respond to a question from someone who needs an answer during their working day, and vice versa. Without a doubt, this makes the workflow quicker and easier, but it also blurs the lines of what Bryan Dyson was trying to get across.

In his speech, there is seemingly a clear divide between the 5 elements we’re all constantly struggling to juggle. In today’s reality, they all intermingle, and blend together and managing your time to ensure each one is kept in the air is one of modern life’s biggest challenges.

Using Flexitime within your organisation can assist employees with managing this quandary. Having the freedom to choose your start and end time for your office day can help you to deal with the other things that life throws at you from time to time.

From the employers’ point of view, knowing that your employee is monitoring their hours to ensure they work the contracted amount of time over a week or month gives you some peace of mind too. It doesn’t necessarily cover the extra little segments of time that get spent on those late-night emails or phone calls but it does offer more balance than the traditional office hours.

In essence, having flexibility around the demands of work enables a person to better juggle all the balls they have in the air at any given time and that, I believe, encapsulates the message that Bryan Dyson was conveying in his 30-second speech.

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