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Work-life balance in law departments

Some companies and some general counsel agitate for a workplace that recognizes there are things in people’s lives other than in-boxes, conference calls, and meetings. These enlightened advocates recognize the whole person, and seek a better balance between the demands of the 9-to-5 world and the world of groceries, sick children, kayaking, and aged parents (See my posts of June 10, 2007: Annual Corporate Counsel Work-Life Balance Award sponsored by Constangy Brooks; June 6, 2006: Graham Packaging’s efforts; March 24, 2007: family-friendly as a term; May 10, 2006: less pay for less work; June 10, 2007: Northwestern Mutual policies; May 7, 2006: GE’s diversity tool; Aug. 13, 2008: RFPs that ask about personnel policies; Nov. 30, 2007: whether family-friendliness in firms matters to law departments; and May 11, 2007: Human Capital Management encourages a balance.).

Allied with work-life balance are the initiatives to allow employees to work from home some days (See my post of May 30, 2006: telecommuting with 5 references; and June 22, 2008: means of communicating with them.).

Similarly, flexibility in working hours as well as job sharing aim at a similar end (See my post of April 9, 2006: flexible staffing arrangements; Dec. 4, 2005: various alternatives to 9-to-5; May 16, 2007: flex-time from another company; June 9, 2007: definitions of flextime and compressed time: June 18, 2007: data on prevalence of flex-time arrangements; Jan. 3, 2008: how to make these arrangements successful; and Aug. 13, 2008: RFPs that ask about flexible working arrangements.).

“Family-friendly” makes an assumption, I believe, about children and, probably, marriage. Work-life is a more neutral and broader term. On the other hand, everyone has parents.

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