Finally a boss who gets it: “I never need to know why you’re working from home”

Posted in Work and Finance.

Hip, hip hooray, a boss has taken to LinkedIn in a powerful post about trusting employees and the importance of work-life balance.

And we are all cheering (and secretly hoping our employer is one of his connections!)

I never need to know

Ian Sohn, a single dad of two and the president of Wunderman Chicago wrote the thoughtful piece which addresses so many of the little things working mums and dads get stressed over as they try to juggle family and work.

“I never need to know you’ll be back online after dinner,” he begins the powerful post – which is like a memo to his employees. It acknowledges the downside of being constantly available thanks to technology and the need for us all to take time out.

“I never need to know why you chose to watch season 1 of ‘Arrested Development’ (for the 4th time) on your flight to LA instead of answering emails. I never need to know you’ll be in late because of a dentist appointment. Or that you’re leaving early for your kid’s soccer game. I never need to know why you can’t travel on a Sunday.”

Having faith in his employees

Then Ian (who might actually be the best boss ever) goes on to say how he trusts his employees to get the job done and doesn’t need to babysit them. Also, that he knows and respects that they have a life outside of work that the modern workplace tends to encroach on.

“I deeply resent how we’ve infantilized the workplace. How we feel we have to apologize for having lives. That we don’t trust adults to make the right decisions. How constant connectivity/availability (or even the perception of it) has become a valued skill,” he writes.


“I never want you to feel horrible”

Ian ends his memo with a story:

“Years ago a very senior colleague reacted with incredulity that I couldn’t fly on 12 hours notice because I had my kids that night (and I’m a single dad). I didn’t feel the least bit guilty, which I could tell really bothered said colleague. But it still felt horrible,” he writes.

“I never want you to feel horrible for being a human being.”

Not surprisingly the post has had almost 14,000 likes and 600 comments.

“Props to you for saying it out loud. It gets easier and more important the higher you are on the ladder. We need to make it the norm. We don’t [own] another human’s life because they agree to work for us. Trust them to do the right thing, and your odds are so much better that you’ll get it,” says one connection, Rian Schmidt, a CIO, CTO and VP of engineering in Portland, OR.

Amen to that!


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