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Who is quitting, who’s returning and why?

A new survey from McKinsey & Company looks at both quit and return to work trends as reported in this recent Forbes story by Emmy Lucas. While flexibility ranked highest for why employees returned to work, during my interview I cautioned that flexibility is more than just remote/hybrid work. “Hybrid keeps people stuck, because it’s keeping us way […]

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Fight, Freeze or Flight: How are you responding to next-stage change?

I, once again, joined top-ranked leadership coach, John Baldoni, on his Grace Under Pressure LinkedIn Live program last week. What started as a discussion about the Great Resignation ended up focusing on what I’m calling the Great Reimagining as it relates to how, when and where we work. Our conversation touched on a couple of key […]

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Flexibility is just as Important as Compensation

This is going to be interesting… Investors and the SEC are now trying to identify and quantify the drivers that attract and retain human capital, AND also how to value human capital more effectively. BUT… They are focusing primarily on compensation (per the article), which may be easier to quantify and does matter to people, […]

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Workplace Podcast: Return to Office is not a Calendar Date

As the next round of return to office dates loom, I joined William Corless on his Workplace Podcast to discuss best practices and the right and wrong ways to think about hybrid and flexible work. I particularly enjoy my conversations with William, an organizational development and mediation expert based in Dublin, Ireland (this is my second […]

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An Example of High Performance Flexibility in Action

Micrsoft’s internal announcement will move to the company’s sixth and final stage of the hybrid work model, effective Feb. 28, 2022, provides great insights into high performance flexibility as a dynamic, responsive way of operating: –Health data has driven the onsite recalibration through the six stages of increased onsite presence during the pandemic. There wasn’t […]

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Cybersecurity, Technology and Flexible Work

Recently, I was a guest on CyberTheory’s “Cybersecurity Unplugged” podcast where I shared my perspectives on “How to Approach the Reality of Remote Work,” including: How we’re still unwinding the ramifications of the pandemic’s almost overnight shift to remote work and the rapid adoption of new technology most of us had not been using How […]

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“Two Years into the Pandemic, What is Work?”

An outstanding story from Marketplace economics reporter Sabri Ben-Achour, “Two Years into the Pandemic, What is Work?” I joined Brian Kropp, head of Gartner’s HR practice, and Paul Statham, CEO of Condeco, to provide perspective. “But when companies bring workers back to the office, be it for one day or all days, they have to answer a question: Why? […]

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Parents+Omicron+Flexibility: Now More Than Ever!

Yesterday, the U.S. posted 1 million new cases of COVID. That’s twice the number from just four days ago, and it’s the most any country has ever reported, according to Bloomberg. The next few weeks will likely become even more challenging, especially for parents–moms and dads–and the managers who employ them. I share my thoughts […]

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Top 2022 Flexible Work Resolutions for Leaders

Welcome to 2022!  The year I believe leaders, line managers, teams and individual employees have the opportunity to come together and ask: “What’s best about the way we worked then, pre-pandemic?” “What’s best about the way we’ve been working now?” “What’s the best way we can work next?” Then execute that vision of high performance […]

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ESG and Flexibility – Interview with Prof. Alex Edmans (Full Interview)

Cali Williams Yost  Hi everybody. It’s such a privilege today for me to be talking with one of my academic heroes, Alex Edmans. Alex is a Professor of Finance at the London Business School and the Academic Director of the Centre for Corporate Governance. He graduated from Oxford University and then worked for Morgan Stanley in investment banking in London. He was on the […]

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ESG and Flexibility – Interview with Prof. Alex Edmans

THE PIE-GROW MODEL: ESG, EMPLOYEE SATISFACTION and FLEXIBILITY  For years, the economic ecosystem—analysts, shareholders, corporate leaders, and board members—have assumed the value a company creates through its products and services is fixed. Senior leaders have been reluctant to embrace corporate responsibility, fearful that doing so would just transfer some of the “pie” from shareholders to others. Leading finance […]

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Overcome Skepticism to Hybrid Work

This exchange during a recent LinkedIn Live discussion hosted by Robert Shrimsley of the Financial Times perfectly illustrates the current state of flexible, hybrid execution in organizations. Leaders are grappling with how to navigate the very real tension between what people want and how to operate their business in a flexible dynamic way that achieves performance AND well-being. At minute 27, […]

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Feeding my Soul

I love music. And I love seeing my favorite artists live. In 2017, U2 (my favorite band) played at the Meadowlands as part of their Joshua Tree tour (my favorite album of theirs). The last three times they played the Meadowlands prior, I had been there and it was amazing. But in 2017, I was […]

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Was it ever OK to go camera off?

I’m consistently asked this question: how do we communicate most effectively as we transition to working across different onsite and remote workplaces and spaces? Many of the default communication norms adopted during the crisis-driven shift to remote work no longer serve us. They need to be reviewed and, possibly, revised. Thank you to ROY MAURER for […]

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Busting The Six Myths Of Flexible And Remote Work Keeping Us Stuck

Recently, Jessica Davies, the Managing Editor of the Future of Work for Digiday, asked me to debunk the top myths about flexible and remote work that were keeping people stuck as Davies explains, “…in the stampede to figure out the right hybrid models, misunderstandings that can lead to further headaches.” The article “Myth buster: Hybrid working models’ […]

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Flexible and Remote Work One Year Later—Surprises and Next Steps

On February 28th, one year ago, HBR published my commentary, “What’s Your Company’s Emergency Remote Work Plan.”  On March 11th, the World Health Organization declared the coronavirus a global pandemic. In less than two weeks, we went from contingency planning to shutdown. This milestone caused me to reflect not only on COVID-19’s catastrophic human and economic toll […]

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Three Steps to Stem the Pandemic Parent Talent Drain Right Now

Over the past couple of weeks, the pandemic’s unrelenting impact on parents and mothers, in particular, has reached the breaking point. You can’t help but think of the classic scene of Howard Beale in the movie Network yelling, “I’m mad as *%#!, and I’m not going to take it anymore!” This rage is well-founded. Since […]

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Lasting Impact of COVID-19 on the Way Teams Operate

In March, employers around the globe told millions of workers – practically overnight – to “work from home until further notice”. Many of these employees had never worked remotely before. Most were given no training or guidance on how to work effectively in such a radically new way. Yet, remarkably, these newly formed remote teams […]

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It’s Not Just Remote, Now or In the Future

It’s happening again. We’re falling into an all or nothing trap. Before COVID-19’s almost overnight shift to remote work, the four-day workweek was the future of work topic du jour. Now, after a six-month collective “work from home” pilot, there’s a myopic focus on remote work as being THE future of work reality. This despite […]

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Work+Life Fit: A Full Circle Moment Timely Once Again in 2021

Last week, a Society for Human Resource Management article “Remote Employees Are Working Longer Than Before” referenced a recent Robert Half study that found a majority of remote employees regularly report working weekends and working longer hours since the pandemic started. As I noted in the story, “Managing the boundaries between work and life is […]

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What Is “IT”? How Do We Do It?

In the next two weeks, we will experience the shortest day of the year, the end of 2020 (thank goodness), and the once-in-800 years alignment of Jupiter and Saturn. It reminds me of the anthropological concept of “liminality,” defined as a “transitional period or a phase of a rite of passage.” That’s where we are right now, […]

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Three Common Flaws in “Back to Work” Plans and How to Fix Them

During the past few weeks, I’ve spoken to a number of organizations about “Back to Work” plans including a presentation to the National Governor’s Association Summer Workforce Symposium “Returning to Work – The Role of Workforce Development in Recovery.”  I’ve noticed three common flaws in many of the plans I’ve read or heard – a focus […]

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KMPG Board Insights Podcast: Flexible Work as Board-Level Risk and Governance Issue

I’m excited to share with you highlights from my recent KMPG Board Insights podcast conversation with host Stephen L Brown, Senior Advisor, KPMG Board Leadership Center. This new podcast explores the emerging issues and pressing challenges facing boards of directors today. (Transcript here) During the episode, we discussed the role that boards (and other corporate leaders) must […]

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Avoid the All or Nothing Real Estate Trap

After more than two decades of implementing high-performance flexibility, we’ve learned to spot common mistakes leaders and employees can unwittingly make. Right now, it’s falling into the “all or nothing” real estate trap.  Organizations are settling into the current now of flexible work where a large percentage of employees work remotely, many for the first time. It’s from this backdrop […]

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Expert Insights: Leading the Shift to High Performance Flexibility

Flex+Strategy Group’s CEO and Founder, Cali Williams Yost interviews Elizabeth D. Moore, former Senior Vice President and General Counsel of Consolidated Edison. Liz Moore is one of the most visionary leaders we’ve had the pleasure to partner with. In 2016 until she retired in late 2019, Liz led the process to transform her 250-person legal department into a […]

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What Will Leadership Have to Look Like Through the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond?

Flex+Strategy Group’s CEO and Founder, Cali Williams Yost interviews Kenneth Freeman, Dean Emeritus, Management & Organizations, Boston University’s Questrom School of Business and Former CEO, Quest Diagnostics. Ken shares his thoughts on how traditional leadership styles will have to adapt to lead flexible, distributed organizations that keep employees healthy while also responding to the difficult economic […]

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Three Steps to Manage Work, Life, and School–CNN HLN Segment VIDEO

Two things have become increasingly clear: School in the fall will be some form of onsite/remote learning model.  Complicating matters is the fact that different school districts and even different grade levels will have different schedules. As a result, parents will not be able to return to anything close to a “normal” work schedule. Whether […]

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It’s Not Too Late: How to Rapidly Switch to a Remote and Flexible Workplace

Monday morning we woke up to additional states and cities announcing “shelter in place” and “stay home” mandates. That means this week even more organizations and employees find themselves working remotely and flexibly for the first time. It’s not too late to take action. Leaders still have time to help their organizations make the remote and flexible workplace pivot. And, in doing so, […]

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How to Work and Take Care of 32 Million Children

Parents across the U.S. and their employers woke up this morning with a new and daunting reality — how to work, care for and educate the estimated 32 million children who may be home from school for the foreseeable future. Here are a few tips to help leaders and parents partner to flexibly fit work, life, school, and […]

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Coronavirus Could Change How, When and Where We Work

This week, the coronavirus (or COVID-19) took a more serious turn in the U.S. with warnings that it could very well impact how, when, and where we work: “Disruption to everyday life may be severe,” Nancy Messonnier, director of the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, cautioned at a news conference Tuesday. “Schools could be closed, […]

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How to Rapidly Execute a Crisis 100% Remote Work Plan (With Limited Experience Working Flexibly)

  In a matter of days, organizations have gone from contingency planning for the coronavirus/COVID-19 to having to rapidly execute a 100% remote work crisis plan for employees with jobs that will allow it. Suddenly, more and more organizations that have little to no experience with work flexibility find themselves implementing the most extreme form–100% remote work.    Any implementation […]

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A/B Teams: Flex Schedules and Locations When Remote Work Isn’t an Option

How do you implement a flexible work crisis plan that keeps everyone healthy, safe and as productive as possible during a very challenging period when remote work isn’t an option for certain jobs or organizations? “Flexing” where people work is getting the most airtime and attention, but flexing when and how people can work together is another option to consider.  […]

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The Traditional Work Model is Broken, So Now What?

When I read the recent New York Times article, “Young People are Going to Save Us All from Office Life,” I had two reactions. First, I thought it clearly outlined why the traditional work model, under disruptive pressure for years, is broken as employers grapple with the next generation’s inherently flexible approach to work and life. […]

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Leveling Up Intention in How, When and Where Work is Done

Initially, when I talk to a leader about reimagining how, when and where their people work, they’ll often say, “oh, they already have work flexibility.” They aren’t wrong. According to our 2018 research, 98% of full-time U.S. workers said they had some degree of flexibility in the way they work and manage their lives. What’s missing […]

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Beyond 4-Day Workweeks and 5-Hour Workdays: Flexible, Dynamic Guardrails

Last week multiple people have asked me, “What do you think about Microsoft’s 4-Day Workweek.” Whenever this happens, I’m reminded why these stories strike a chord. People respond enthusiastically to this and other “work reimagined” successes, including one in which a German company instituted 5-Hour Workdays, because it’s inspiring to see an organization try something new, even […]

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The Floodgates Fear

Recently, I met with a forward-thinking leader who recognized his organization had reached a tipping point.  He knew the current approach to flexibility in the way work is done was too random, inconsistent, and organic.  It needed to be more coordinated and strategic to address a variety of business challenges, including attracting and retaining the diverse, knowledgeable talent required […]

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Delivering on the Promise of Work Flexibility

Recently, I was interviewed for an insightful article in USA Today entitled “More Employers Offer Flexible Hours, but Many Grapple with How to Make It Succeed” reporting the results of a national survey of hiring managers. After that interview, I re-read the recent article in the New York Times, “Young People are Going to Save […]

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Open Office Spaces May Be “the Worst,” Now What?

Thank you CBS Sunday Morning’s Faith Salie for your commentary, “An Open Secret: Open Office Plans Are the Worst.” The segment was important because it reported the results of a Harvard Business School study that, because it was released over the summer, didn’t get as much coverage as it should have given what it found–open office workspaces (as currently implemented) don’t achieve the […]

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Resolve the Clash Between Flexibility and Traditional Work Practices

Does it feel like the clash between the flexible work expectations of younger employees and your organization’s traditional work practices has escalated? If it does, you are not alone. Even employers on every “best of” work flexibility list face the challenge. Recently, I had lunch with a leader from a “best of” company. At one […]

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The Tornado and My Rapid Reset

How prepared are you and your organization to flexibly, and rapidly reset the way work is done in response to an unexpected event (e.g. weather, cyber-attack, transit strike)? I experienced a dramatic and unexpected work+life fit reset on Halloween when an EF1 tornado roared through our New Jersey town in the middle of the night. No one […]

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“Flex” Your Business Model to Seize Market Opportunities and Address Challenges

Several segment leaders across different industries made headlines for “flexing” their traditional business models to seize market opportunities and address operating challenges. These nimble businesses reimagined how, when and where work could be done. In the process, they showed that work flexibility is much more than an HR perk, digital app or workspace redesign. Instead these savvy […]

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Secrets of the Work+Life Fit “Naturals”

This week, to celebrate “15 Years of Work+Life Fit”, I am sharing one of my favorite excerpts from my book, Tweak It. Where we were: When I wrote Tweak It, I wanted to share what I learned studying the people I call the Work+Life Fit “Naturals”.  Individuals who just seemed to take control of how […]

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15 Years of Work+Life Fit

A colleague recently surprised me when she said, “Did you know your first book, “Work+Life” came out fifteen years ago?” After recovering from the initial shock of how quickly a decade and a half flew by, I realized this anniversary was an excellent opportunity to do three things: Reflect on where we were back then […]

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5 Ways Employers Unlock the Strategic Power of Vacation

It’s no secret that employers are waging a talent war. Vacation or paid time off (PTO) can be one of the most powerful tools in an organization’s recruitment and engagement arsenal but is significantly underutilized. That’s according to an article for which The Washington Post recently interviewed me, “The one benefit workers want more than anything […]

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Tips to Manage Accessibility and Responsiveness at Work

From the extremes of Millennial/Gen-Z #hustle culture to the pending “Right to Disconnect” legislation in New York City, we continue to grapple with how to set better boundaries around, and within, our jobs.  Clocks and walls no longer tell us where work ends, and the other parts of life begin. Back in the day, we didn’t need to be […]

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Radical Changes in the Way We Work Require a New Approach to Public Policy

At 12 noon today, the 116th United States Congress will convene. This changing-of-the-guard marks a historic opportunity to bring the policy debate related to healthcare, retirement, education, income stability and taxation into the 21st Century and acknowledge radical changes in the way we work.   And that doesn’t even include paid family leave, on which I’ve […]

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Boards Can’t Ignore the Lure of a Flexible Workplace

“Boards can’t ignore the lure of a flexible workplace.”  That’s the headline of an article I authored in the latest issue of Directors & Boards, a quarterly journal dedicated to the topics of leadership and corporate governance. The article’s publication is an important milestone in the evolution of work flexibility from an optional “nice to […]

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Building High Performing, Flexible Work Cultures

Grateful to Jen Arnold, host of the Redesigning Wellness podcast, for the opportunity to discuss the important, and too often overlooked, link between wellness and work flexibility. When you encourage and teach people how to leverage work flexibility, they are able to fit all of those important wellness-related activities that companies pay handsomely to promote […]

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Strategizing the Flexible Workplace

Traditionally, work flexibility has been the sole domain of HR.  But, increasingly, I see Facilities teams in organizations, and the vendors that serve them, initiate the flexible work culture change process because transforming the workspace can be a great opportunity to rethink how, when and where work is done more broadly. Check out the insightful questions […]

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Jeff Bezos is Right about Work-Life Balance, But…

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn. “Word! Halleluiah! Amen!” That was my reaction when I heard Jeff Bezos dropped an important truth bomb we all needed to hear—“work-life balance” IS indeed a debilitating phrase. Not necessarily because there is a strict trade-off as Bezos implied, but because balance does not exist! This is an argument I’ve been […]

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Sometimes Remote Work Policies Must Die for Flexible Work Cultures to Thrive

Every time I read a headline like “IBM Ends Remote Work” I do two things. First, I dig deeper to find out what’s really happening. Usually, it’s not that “remote work” is ending. It’s that a specific formal policy has been discontinued or scaled back. In the case of IBM, it was a full-time work-from-home policy. The second thing […]

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NYTimes Mag Gets It Right–“Work-Life” a Top Business Trend

This past Sunday, The New York Times Magazine ran a special “Work” issue. We’re honored that the article featured our research and the innovative flexible work culture initiatives of two of our clients, BDO USA and CECP. But, what really matters is that The New York Times got it right: “Work-Life” is a top business trend. […]

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What is asynchronous work?

I recently chatted with Digiday‘s WorkLife editor Jessica Davies about asynchronous work and the confusion surrounding this term as part of their “WTF…” series (that title is so apropos for this era of change!) “The confusion is occurring because not everyone has understood that to make it work well, you need to set some guardrails on how it’s […]

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Employees stayed where there was Flexibility

A new survey from McKinsey & Company looks at both quit and return to work trends as reported in this Forbes story by Emmy Lucas. And while flexibility ranked highest for why employees returned to work, during my interview I cautioned that flexibility is more than just remote/hybrid work. “Hybrid keeps people stuck, because it’s keeping us way […]

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