Finding Work - Life Balance

Finding balance in our lives is not always easy.  With our 24/7 connectivity, the lines between work and personal time can become blurred.  Do you find that your work day doesn’t end at quitting time anymore?

Employee view

  • The vast majority of employees say they have a good work-life balance, but they also express some ambivalence about the intrusion of work and work-technology into their personal time. Only one-third of employees agree they have a good work-life balance.
  • 89% of employees say it’s important for their employer not to contact them during off the clock time or to give clients their contact information.
  • Over one-half employees think that technology has destroyed the modern family dinner because employers and clients demand immediate responses via text, email, etc. at any hour.
  • Nearly 2 in 5 employees have missed important life events because of work.

Reasons for imbalance -

  • A large number of employees say the reasons their work vs life is out of balance is due to time-related issues and the people they work with and for.  They also cited distractions like meetings and email.
  • What were the top three work-related issues that employees believe have the most negative impact on their work-life balance? Bad bosses, constantly working beyond standard business hours and inflexibility in scheduling work hours and time off.
  • Other contributing factors to this negative impact are incompetent colleagues, long commutes, unproductive meetings, employer issued devices which can’t be turned off and are expected to always be answered, non-stop emails,  and bad or demanding clients.

Negative impact -

  • Missed life events such as birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and children’s activities
  • Less time spent with family and friends
  • Interruption of family time (conference calls, emails interrupting scheduled family activities)
  • Lack of focus or engagement with family (still thinking about work, not being present in the moment)
  • Results are that employees have low morale and are resentful of each other and/or management.
  • Lots of employees feel fatigued and burned out, turnover is high and productivity is poor.

Solutions -

  • More than anything else, employees say more flexibility in how and where work can be done would improve their work-life balance.
  • Allowance of remote working
  • Offer unlimited PTO (paid time off)
  • Impose restrictions on email response times (i.e., 9am – 6 pm)
  • Establish “meeting free” blocks of time during the week

Finding balance -

  • Let go of perfectionism – it can become destructive if left unchecked in the workplace.
  • Unplug – shut your phone off and enjoy the moment; don’t text at your kid’s soccer game or answer work emails during family time.  Make quality time true quality time.
  • Exercise and meditate – exercise is an effective stress reducer.  It pumps feel-good endorphins through your body and lifts your mood.
  • Limit time-wasting activities and people – identify what’s important to you and draw firm boundaries around where and what to devote your quality time to.
  •  Change the structure of your life – ask yourself what changes could make life easier for you. Focus on activities that you value most. Delegate or outsource everything else; let go in ways that benefit other people by giving them opportunities to grow.
  • Start small and build – don’t commit to drastic changes that are doomed to fail; start small and ramp up from there.

For more information on work-life balance read this article from Harvard Business Review.

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