Question: Can consultants, at the beck and call of clients’ demands, ever have anything approaching a work-life balance?
For a year [Prof. Perlow, HBS] studied his team at Boston Consulting Group and came back with the verdict that the biggest problem was a lack of predictability. “People could never make a plan because of client demands,” recalls Mr Freeland. So they came up with a scheme called “predictable time off”, or PTO. It gave employees an evening or a day between Mondays and Thursdays when they would not be contacted and could switch off the phone and email.
“Most efforts fail if we aim for work-life balance as it’s superficial unless you change how work is done”, says Mr Freeland, senior partner, today responsible for BCG’s people and organisation practice. It was a tricky sell, he reflects. “Some thought long hours were a rite of passage; others didn’t think we needed PTO.”