In the corporate and professional arenas, flexibility is used as an important tool for recruitment and retention and as a strategy for advancing women. Moreover, navigating life and work is becoming increasingly important for men as well as women, especially Generations X and Y.
This presents a deep conflict for the Jewish world where personal connections are seen as critical to community-building. In this environment, "face-time" is a primary measure of professional dedication and excellence.
Shifting this mindset will be significant challenge. We need to help our Jewish organizations think about how helping their professionals achieve greater life-work balance is also an opportunity to rethink how our work gets done.
When organizations are flexible enough to allow a range of functional structures and schedules, they benefit in two important ways. First, they come to new understandings about the expectations and goals for each task, project and initiative. Second, they design new practices - including stronger teamwork and cross-training - that strengthen the quality of the work.
Finally, attention to the issues of life and work is critical for advancing women. When women are judged on their performance, results and potential - and not on their capacity to work "24/7" - they will be perceived and promoted as valuable assets for our Jewish organizations.