The pandemic has changed our lives beyond recognition, and our jobs are no exception. Many employees feel overwhelmingly exhausted from the sheer length of it all. Add the yo-yo of good news followed by bad news, the pressure to get things in order with the kids and family, resuming some social life, and the anxiety of the unknown, just made it that many times harder.
So when Megan Witherspoon, a vice president of communications and mother of two, shared this heartwarming post on flexible work on LinkedIn, many people found it to be a breath of fresh air. By summing up what she ‘does care’ about employees and ‘does not,’ Megan showed how actually caring about your employees is what should be at the heart of every company.
Her post received 101,972 reactions and counting showing that it hit close to home for many current employees and job seekers on the platform.
Megan Witherspoon, a VP of communications, recently shared a post on LinkedIn that shows how caring about your employees and giving them flexibility is key
Image credits: Megan Witherspoon
Image credits: Megan Witherspoon
Bored Panda reached out to Megan Witherspoon, vice president of communications at Altria, mother of two, and the author of this amazing LinkedIn post that struck a chord with many people and went viral recently. “Caring is critical, in my opinion,” Megan told us.
She continued: “For a very long time, the business world believed personal and professional should be separate. When we walked into an office building, we would shed one persona and don another. Sure, we had office friendships, but we stopped short of talking too much about personal issues and many topics were considered taboo.”
Megan believes that many have wanted to bring more life and warmth into the workplace for a long time, and this was another change accelerated by the pandemic. “We’ve now spent 18 months with our colleagues in their homes, with their children and pets and in their personal spaces. We’ve had to help one another through extremely challenging circumstances. We’ve supported each other, cried together and talked about mental health and wellness.”
“Now the personal and the professional are intertwined, and we’ve all felt the benefits of caring for our colleagues, we no longer need to divide ourselves in half when we log into our computers each day.” Moreover, the communications expert believes that employees work harder and with more passion when they’re doing it with and for people they care about.
Flexibility at work, a new work model that the pandemic has accelerated, is a “win-win” for both companies and their employees, says Megan
And when it comes to flexibility at work, Megan said there’s a one-size-fits-all approach to flexibility. “The structure of work differs by industry and role, every company has its own culture and work patterns, and individual employees have different flexibility needs.” However, that said, “I would advise companies and leaders to go as far as they realistically can with providing flexibility to their employees. Flexibility isn’t a sacrifice – it actually makes great business sense. And employee expectations have changed and they’re willing to vote with their feet.”
Megan believes that companies that embrace flexibility “will better retain top talent, be able to recruit new talent from broader and more diverse talent pools, and have more engaged and balanced employees. It’s a win-win!”
The pandemic has changed office work as we knew it beyond recognition, and according to Megan, it “served as an accelerant, dramatically speeding up trends that were already in the works but would have otherwise taken much longer to materialize.”
She explained further: “Traditional office-based employees have been wanting flexibility and the ability to work remotely for a very long time, but workplace cultures and behaviors were so entrenched, it was difficult to overcome the inertia. The pandemic was a disruptor and a catalyst for change, because suddenly entire companies were forced to adopt flexibility and remote work overnight, and many are still remote some 18 months later.”
Most importantly, by now, we’ve all seen that it’s possible and that it actually holds benefits for both the employer and the employee. “We’ve adopted new technologies and new work behaviors and we’ve reorganized and reprioritized our lives. It’s hard to see how or why we’d go backwards from here.”
As for the LinkedIn post itself, Megan said she definitely didn’t expect such a response. “I know many people are passionate about this topic, and previous posts about flexibility and empathy in the workplace have gotten good engagement, but not to this magnitude.”
What it means is that clearly this particular post really struck a chord. “I’ve been amazed by the number of truly touching messages I’ve received from people sharing their own stories with me and encouraging me to continue using my voice to advocate on this issue,” Megan concluded.
Many people supported Megan’s point of view and others shared their own experiences about working in a flexible company
Some were more critical of the flexible work model and claimed that it wouldn’t work for many jobs