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Work/life balance principles (Northwestern Mutual)

Here are four admirable and humane principles out of seven shared by Rachel Taknint, the Vice President – Law Department Planning and Operations & Associate General Counsel of Northwestern Mutual, at a recent ALIC conference. The four especially appeal to me because they differentiate a law department perspective on work expectations from a typical large law firm’s perspective.

1. “The quality of a person’s work together with his or her overall productivity are more important than the number of hours worked” (See my post of Sept. 10, 2005 on why lawyers loath tracking their time.).

2. “Work performed at home or from another location is of equal value with work performed in the office, and work performed at non-standard times is just as valuable as work performed during traditional office hours” (See my post of June 9, 2007 on flex-time and compressed time.).

3. “Everyone should expect to be able to take his or her full vacation time each year. Multi-day vacations should be substantially free of work…” (See my post of May 18, 2007 on vacation days taken – or not taken – in law departments.).

4. “Except as a matter of personal preference, weekend and holiday work should be the exception and not the rule, as should night-time work…” (See my post of May 21, 2007 about perceptions of workload.).