As women, we often have extra pressure to balance work duties with family responsibilities. Decade after decade, we try to answer the question “Can we have it all?” I believe the answer is you can have it all, but it might not look exactly like you pictured.
I recently made the choice to freeze my eggs. While I know I want to have children, I also know that I want more time to focus solely on myself and OfficeTogether before becoming a mom. Ironically, the choice I made to keep me focused on work ended up pulling me away from work in a big way.
My egg freezing journey included 4 weeks of no strenuous exercise, 3 weeks of hormone-driven mood swings, 7 doctor visits scheduled last-minute during work hours, and 3 nights waking up in screaming pain. It’s an invasive and painful procedure many women go through to prolong their careers and the careers of their partners.
Given how bloated and uncomfortable I was, I could not imagine going into an office daily during this 4-week period. The lack of commute and ability to work alone were very welcome. On the other hand, the few days I did work in person during this period were a huge source of strength for me. I was very open about what I was going through, and my teammates were incredibly supportive and understanding. Their energy and empathy really came through in person, because they could see and feel my change in energy.
It took a combination of in-person work and flexible-remote time to get me through the process and procedure with relatively minimal work disruption.
I regret not taking more time off, but I had no idea the level of pain and discomfort the procedure entailed. I’m grateful that being a hybrid employee at my own company gave me the space I needed to heal, while also providing me with a helpful human connection.
I first shared this story on LinkedIn and the post went viral. I’m continuing to share my story because fertility and family are a huge part of many employees’ lives and it’s clear to me how well-implemented hybrid strategies can be a powerful tool to support employee wellbeing.
As you think through your future office strategy, be it re-opening the office, returning to the office, or perhaps transitioning to fully remote work, I encourage you to think about how your new office policy will impact the employee experience.
For me, a hybrid workplace puts the employee at the center of how we work. And, at least in my experience, it’s this combination of flexibility and community that can make for a highly productive and successful workplace.