In today’s society, personal time is becoming minimal and both work and family commitments are rampantly growing. Employees and their managers are stressed from carrying overtime shifts and encouraging exponential work growth. At home, kids are back in school after a long summer vacation, and their needs and programs are also growing in their requirements for support. In the midst of all the business growth and demands, how can you and your employees stay healthy and balanced in both work and personal life? Statistics show us that healthy employees are less stressed, more efficient, happier, productive and have longer retention rates. Not only that, but you can learn for yourself how to balance your employee’s needs, your office needs, and your personal home life needs and also feel more motivated and successful in your daily life. All of these are excellent reasons to provide your staff tips on how to stay balanced, and even employ them in your own life as your tasks grow. This article will cover several ways to increase balance and achieve a better work/life environment in the office and in the home.
As with all healthy relationships, open communication is an essential aspect to garnering a safe and productive environment. This open communication should be about communicating needs, and the ability to do so while meeting requirements. Say your employee needs to leave at a certain time to have dinner with his or her family, or they need time to exercise during the day to reduce stress and have balance in their lives. While all jobs may not be able to accommodate this, the ability to have open communication and see if there are ways for both the manager and the employee to agree on hours will help both you and your staff feel balanced and happy in the workplace. When you have a cohesive environment of employees who feel not only balanced in their work and life schedules but also feel as if their voices are heard and respected, you will have a more productive workplace and high retention rates amongst your employees. Work with them to discover what their needs are to feel more balanced and enjoy work more. What often comes out of these conversations is the need to establish a strong ‘off button.’ Essentially your employee and you need to establish strong boundaries and then both mutually respect those boundaries. There will always be one more email, one more phone call, and one more budget sheet to recover. When you are at home, turn off your phones and tablets if you find those are drawing you back into work. Refocus that energy on things that are important in your life and it’s well being. Have a conversation with your employer about having separate work cell phones from your personal phones, this way if you are an iPhone junkie, you can keep your phone on and work off. A boundary in place to allow your staff and yourself to push the off button after work without feeling lingering regrets.
Speaking of lingering, have you ever found yourself driving home, wondering about the last bit of information you heard at work. Even carrying that work into the home over dinner and right before sleep. These lingering thoughts can build into long-term stressors that reduce productivity and overall happiness. Finding practices to help you break this rumination cycle, and while some role their eyes, mindfulness practices can offer great help to staff and managers alike. Practicing meditation, yoga, and looking over your day to maximize what really matters and refocus can reduce these thoughts. Really allow yourself the ability to let go of work stressors and focus on your life outside of the office. Develop practices, relationships, and activities outside of work and you will find that your balance is more in sync with the healthiest lifestyles. Once you have discovered these things, take time, set schedules, plan and book time away from the office to celebrate these outside office commitments and treat them like commitments. As a worker as well, I understand that emergencies come up, but strongly guard and respect your plans with friends and family, they are just as much of a priority as work.
Finally, one of the best ways to increase work and life outside the office is to communicate with your boss what success is to you and what it will look like in your company. In your new mindfulness practices hold firm what you have as your values, and your understanding of yourself and what makes you happy. Then use these to determine what success looks like to you, how will you feel proud of your work and feel happy in your personal life. Once you have determined this, use it to work our first suggestion in this article, communicate these standards with your managers which will then open the conversation up to what is working and what isn’t at your office. Sometimes we have a tendency to let things go, you were given a very stressful task and managed to complete it by pulling extra hours and dropping outside work commitments, instead of discussing this with your manager you chalked it up to a one-time ordeal. While this happens sometimes, make sure you are not just letting these things go if you wish to have balance.
In this article, we covered quite a few details about how to achieve work-life balance. While you should incorporate these tips into your daily life, you should also consider communicating this directly to your staff so they can be happier, healthier, and more balanced. If you have been a long-term manager, then you know that happy employees are more productive, have higher rates of success, and create pleasant work atmospheres, which not only helps in retention but also helps in future hires. You can have a more fulfilling life and work-life with just a few assessments of what is working for you now, and what could change to make your life better.