How Would You Handle Employees Who Have Children?

Someone on Quora asked:

I manage a young startup company in the valley. My only employee is great, but he’s also a new father. Which means leaving work between 6 and 7 pm. I understand him, but it’s hard for a startup that the commitment lasts for work hours only. What would you do as a CEO?

Note:

  • The problem is not that the guy is leaving early per se. The question I have is more with the rigidity of the time even when something more urgent is needed.
  • I am looking for ideas and solutions to maximize the benefits for everybody and everything involved.

This was my response:

When I lived with my grandma rent free back in the early half of 2011, I started to work for an underfunded startup that was waiting for their investment to come in any day now. That any day now took around six months and the investment was only for a quarter of what was expected, but that is beside the point.

Every day, my boss would call me after work at 7pm, 9pm, 11pm. Actually it did not matter what time it was after hours, he would call. He always wanted to talk for over an hour and discuss the business, his relationship with his girlfriend and the problems they were having, what he expected of me at work, how much equity he would give me and all these other random conversations that did not matter at all. Reflecting back on the situation, I do not know why I did not turn off my phone when I went home. Actually, I should have just stopped paying my phone bill so I would never have to answer my phone again. This is one of the main reasons I do not give out my phone number nor answer most of my incoming calls anymore.

Well, answering those calls at night and talking about business after I left work actually cut into my productivity during the hours I was at work. I would wake up tired or exhausted and my work activity would not nearly be as good as it would have been if I was well rested. Plus, it took away from the time that I had spent doing things in my personal life, like ummm… Watch TV.

Nevermind. I was not doing anything with my personal life at that time, but it still took away from my productivity. Normally, I work like a stallion and get things done. However, the drag of answering all those calls to talk business cut into my productivity. It took a deep, hard cut into it, to the point where I was working at the productivity level of a donkey.  Eeyaw!

If I take a project home, I am doing it by choice to get it done for tomorrow, so we can make it better when I get into the office tomorrow. I am not taking it home by force, or it will come out as a huge mess and will require everyone’s combined effort to create into a viable project. It is kind of like pushing two steps back in order to move one step forward.

In other words, just let him split his passions in two. It does no harm to your business, nor does it do harm to his family. Each person understands what their expectations are, both in the work place and at home. Let their personal life be and work on building the business together within the work hours you are given.

Originally posted on Quora.

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