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WE HAVE A LOT TO SAY ABOUT FIELD SERVICE

Achieving Work-Life Balance

Posted by John Needham on Jun 23, 2016 1:30:00 PM
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We recently wrote an eBook on work-life balance in field service organizations. As we wrote it, we fully understood that many busy individuals within FSOs might view work-life balance as a buzzword that can’t actually be achieved. So, we decided to reach out to a senior manager at one field service organization to get his thoughts on how work-life balance can be achieved. Here is a summary of what we discussed with him.

 

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I guess the important word is balance. You have work, and that’s important. It gives you a degree of self-worth, and it makes you feel like you’re achieving goals during the day, and I mean, honestly, it provides you the money to do other things you want to do. Then, you have a family, and they mean the world to you. There’s a push and pull there. I have two kids, and like most people, my kids were going to school and having a lot of ‘firsts’ at the time I was getting more responsibility at work. So, sometimes I’d plan to be home at 5:30 pm and wouldn’t be home until 8:30 pm. It happens, but you need to prioritize where the balance lies. I never missed anything major or anything that I didn’t want to miss, and I still haven’t.

 

I guess the important word is balance. You have work, and that’s important. It gives you a degree of self-worth, and it makes you feel like you’re achieving goals during the day, and I mean, honestly, it provides you the money to do other things you want to do. Then, you have a family, and they mean the world to you. There’s a push and pull there. I have two kids, and like most people, my kids were going to school and having a lot of ‘firsts’ at the time I was getting more responsibility at work. So, sometimes I’d plan to be home at 5:30 pm and wouldn’t be home until 8:30 pm. It happens, but you need to prioritize where the balance lies. I never missed anything major or anything that I didn’t want to miss, and I still haven’t.

 

A lot of it comes back to priorities and how you manage yours. Field service is a tough business. Needs are changing all the time, and demands are flying at you. Some days, I come in, and I think we have a set of five major appointments today and I have to make sure the technicians are ready and prepared for those. Then, I’ve been at work 15 minutes, and we’ve got three urgent client calls where a machine is off-line or broken and I’ve got to work to re-route the technicians and change other appointments. As all this is happening, I realize we’re always talking about customer experience and customer satisfaction, and if I drop a few of these customer/client balls I’m juggling, we may lose that account. In those situations, you have to prioritize. What’s important here? What do I need to focus on?

 

It’s the same with work-life balance. You need to prioritize. What’s important? What is negotiable, and what’s non-negotiable? If you understand those lines, you can do it better.

 

I think it’s an advantage back to the company, too, and the company’s owners. I’ve worked for good managers and bad ones, and I’ve probably been a good manager and a bad one. If you have a good manager who treats you like an adult and respects your time -- while he/she knows you’re going to get the work done -- you don’t want to leave that person. About five years ago, I got a few calls from another field service organization in our area. At one point, we started talking money and it was upwards of $20,000 more. I have two kids and that would have benefited my family. But as I started talking to people at this place, it was very much a workaholic culture, and everyone was supposed to be working late and driving revenue. I thought about this a dozen times to myself: do I want $20,000 more each year, or do I want flexibility? I settled on flexibility. I stayed.

 

Now, I’m not saying I’m a great employee -- although I am pretty good -- but I have a lot of experience. If I had left my job, that’s a loss for them. They’d need to find a new person, train them on how we work here, etc. It would cost them money. But because they have a flexible work culture that values work-life balance, I didn’t leave. They saved money there. So, it’s an advantage to the company, too.

 

Work is hard, and family life is hard, and to do either one right, you need to put in time. So, it’s just about figuring out your priorities and your balance. It’s hard, but it can be done.

Using Field Service Management to Improve Work-Life Balance

Topics: field service

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