HR can help to solve the work-life crisis

By Barbara Moses
|CHRR, Guide to Pensions & Benefits|Last Updated: 04/12/2001

Five years ago I had a year from hell. My mother, who was living by herself in Montreal, was in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. I spent that year alternating between endless hours on the telephone on hold, trying to decipher instructions of beleaguered doctors who never had more than a nanosecond to answer my questions, and jumping on an airplane at a moment’s notice to do crisis intervention.

I was fortunate — I had a work-at-home spouse, extremely capable subcontractors to whom I could subcontract work with a day’s notice, sensitive clients, and most importantly, I was self-employed. I could not have survived that year if I had had a nine-to-five — or should I say, a 24/7 — job.

There has been more ink devoted to the issue of creating systems and programs that support work-life balance than perhaps any other HR initiative. It seems that almost every month there is yet another conference devoted to HR professionals promoting, describing, auditing, or boasting about their work-life programs. And still it remains an issue that won’t go away.