Life is hard sometimes. Things happen. People get sick. Pets get sick. Our Monday morning – or Tuesday or Friday morning – can change quickly when the dishwasher breaks, that salmon you had the night before with that “odd” taste kicks in, the doctor finds “something” during your last check up, or your kid or dog wakes up feeling ill. We have several associates here in the store that, for one reason or another, are going through some pretty intense non-work issues.

Many companies have a set number of personal and sick days that you can take each year. Most employees find themselves under pressure to save those days for when they are deathly ill or for when the most severe things happen. They drag themselves to work with a fever or feel torn between doing what they feel they should do and what work rules say they have to do. It doesn’t breed openness and conversation. The scales of work/life balance seem to tip in the wrong direction.

Room & Board doesn’t have a formal personal or sick day policy. It’s often a conversation about what’s happening in your life and how you can best balance the needs of the business and your personal obligations. It’s about trust. It breeds openness and empathy. I’ve seen many associates taking up the slack for peers as they work out the things that life throws at them; we all know it could be us in their shoes.

Granted, it is a balance you have to find. With possibility does come responsibility. It’s up to you not to abuse the trust that’s put in you. You have to find a balance. But wouldn’t you rather have a job where you can actually have that discussion rather than being in a job where discussions like that are completely off limits?