How Loosening the Reigns Can Bring Employees Closer

Employers are often perceived as bigger than life, unfeeling monsters. May I remind everyone of one basic fact – employees and employers are one in the same – just people. The great divide between the two, however, can be so vast that it seems impossible to repair. Loosening the Reigns Can Bring Employees Closer.

corporations employees


Independently Happy’s first guest post! I’m honored and pleased to introduce Joelene Wolfe of Happiness Depends. Enjoy!


The corporate world seems to get a bad rap. In movies, it is depicted with scenes of brown-nosing, back-stabbing, embezzlement and people being tethered to a cubicle from 9-5 (or longer). It may be seen this way for good reasons because often employees are treated more like cogs in a wheel than living, feeling humans.

Hey Corporate World- Listen Up!

I am here to tell you that there is hope. We have all heard of the quote by Richard Bach,

[special]“If you love someone, set them free. If they come back they’re yours; if they don’t they never were.”[/special]

This saying goes for the corporate world as well. For a place where I spent the majority of my waking hours, a little freedom and love would have gone a long, long way.

Work-Life Balance Shouldn’t Be So Difficult

Having worked in the corporate world for more years than I care to mention, I can tell you that some of my best experiences, hands down, were with companies that appreciated me as a person and treated me like one. As a wife, mom, daughter, homeowner and dog mom, I had a life outside of work that needed just as much, if not more, attention than my job. Having to prioritize work versus the things I truly cared about was sometimes really tough.

It was honestly the biggest conundrum I faced. On one hand, I needed the paycheck and benefits to enjoy all the things in my life that I cared about, but work often got in the way of actually enjoying my life.

This is especially upsetting when I was in a job that I didn’t even like.

Reality Check

After working my butt off for years, not being there for my family, feeling beat down and unappreciated, I vowed to stop it – all. This epiphany hit me when my oldest daughter at the time, listed all the things I had missed in her life. I’m not talking about recent things either. She could pretty much list right down to the day and time and why I wasn’t there.

Ugh! Talk about a reality check.

I was obviously saddened since I wasn’t there for my daughter and that it still bothered her years later. However, I was even more upset because the companies I worked for during those times, had either laid me off since or the managers I worked for had been long gone. I guess the damage was done but what pissed me off most was that it was all for nothing. I missed out on enjoying the things and people I truly cared about for people who may not even remember my name. For what?!

Well, I am here to say,

“Hey Corporate World- Listen up! I will let you in on a little secret – the more you give, the more you get.”


I now work to enjoy my life– not in spite of it.

I smartened up and later only sought out companies that appreciated their employee’s work life balance. I can say that working with (notice I didn’t say “working for”) companies that enabled me to enjoy my life outside the office doors, was priceless. Flexible hours, unlimited vacation and the ability to go see my daughter’s art show on a random Tuesday, were things I valued far beyond a paycheck. I was more loyal, appreciative and happier going to work each day. Ironically, in the end, I probably worked harder for the companies that were more lenient because I felt appreciated instead of resentful.

A few proven methods that work include:

  • unlimited vacation, flexible hours and work from home flexibility
  • in office yoga, chair massages, and meditation (subsidized or free)
  • collaborative goal setting (including all levels in the process)
  • top down and bottom up reviews including personal aspects (respect, kindness, motivation)
  • surprise and delight (impromptu small gifts, holiday, birthday and anniversary acknowledgment)
  • a just because thank you (management dropping in and saying thank you for being you)
  • team bonding events

In the end, the only person I have to blame in my experience with the corporate world is myself. When I was younger, instead of putting my foot down and expressing what would make me happy, I did what was expected – being a cog in their wheel.

Well, Cog No More!

I have since left the corporate world to follow my dreams but I have learned to tell people up front what I expect in having a good working relationship. If they don’t agree, I move on but more often than not, they will. You just have to speak up.

So, if you want happier and more productive employees, Corporate World, loosen the reigns, give choices and allow the flexibility and balance to do what people love. Then that love will come back tenfold.

“Appreciation is the deliberate, proactive valuing of your employee and what he or she has to offer. Appreciation is letting your employees know, in every way you can think of, the following: You matter. You count. You are important.” Dr. Noelle Nelson

We are all people.

Joelene Wolfe bio

In addition to being a mom, wife, and marketer, Joelene is the creator of Happiness Depends. After years of working in the corporate world and following someone else’s dream, she took the big leap to finally follow her own dream of acting. Happiness depends on so many things but it always starts with a feeling, an idea and a first step.

Joelene is now enjoying helping others take their 1st step toward their dreams. Now let’s get your happy on.

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