Skip to content

Podcast: One Mom’s Extreme Flexibility Story

wylie family on tour

wylie family_mid_tourfamily_mid_tour wylie family on tourThere has been a lot of noise in the news lately about companies like IBM pulling back on flexible work options.  This is an ironic move for IBM given that their own research and publications suggest that “teleworkers are more highly engaged, more likely to consider their workplaces as innovative, happier about their job prospects and less stressed than their more traditional, office-bound colleagues.”  Leaders in the companies who are pulling back on remote work options are arguing that presence is required for productive collaboration and innovation.

Perhaps some of these leaders should talk to Kristen Wylie, Director of Product Marketing at Kronos.  Kristen spent 8 months on the road with her 9 and 13 year old daughters over the past year while they performed in the national touring company of the musical Annie.  That would be daunting enough for any parent, but Kristen did this while continuing to do her full time job at Kronos.  In fact, Kristen was promoted to director while she was on the road.

I spoke to Kristen recently about her experience exercising this “extreme flexibility”.   With the support of her boss and her team, Kristen spent eight months juggling a demanding job and supporting her daughters’ life on the road.  We talked about how she pulled it off and what lessons other organizations and employees might learn from Kristen’s story.

Listen in by clicking on the player at the bottom of this post to hear Kristen’s responses to these and other questions about how she did it:

  1. What went through your head when you learned your daughters had been cast in Annie regarding your position at Kronos?
  2. How did you work it out with your manager to do your job from the road? Was he supportive or did you need to sell this idea?
  3. You were touring with a theater company – which operates on very different hours than a normal work environment. Where there changes you made in how you got certain things done given the crazy schedule?
  4. How did you take care of your children and yourself while under this pressure?  It seems like there wasn’t much downtime for any of you.
  5. You manage other people. How did they feel about working under these circumstances and what did you do to make this arrangement work for them?
  6. During the time you were touring with your daughters, you got promoted. Beyond the obvious insight that you do a great job for Kronos, do you think your ability to juggle as you did helped make this happen?
  7. A lot of working parents hearing your story will think “that could never happen at my organization”. What would you tell a working parent who’d like to have greater flexibility at work how to broach that topic and sell it as a benefit to their organization?

How does your organization support flexible work options?  Can you see a story like Kristen’s happening in your workplace?

Share this:
One Comment Post a comment
  1. One of the conclusions John Boudreau, Ravin Jesuthasan and I had about flexible work is that it’s a feature you dial up or dial down depending on the work to be done. So IBM may or may not have been right to dial down flexibility on marketing, but it’s shortsighted to see it as evidence that flexible work is a bad idea.

    What I love about this story is that it shows that when there’s a will, you can turn the dial way way up on flexibility and still get the work done. So it’s true that in general some work is better suited to flexibility than others; but in many cases if the need arises you can find a way to make flexibility work.

    July 27, 2017

Leave a Reply

You may use basic HTML in your comments. Your email address will not be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS