The quality of life throughout the world is determined by many things. Infant mortality rates, crime, poverty, education, and work-life balance. The OECD found that countries that had companies that focus on giving employees more time to go home, not only had a better economy but better living conditions.
Here in North America, both companies and individuals are at fault for not having an adequate balance. People glamorize working extra hours and “putting in work”.
If you’d like to know more about some of the benefits of balancing your job and life, here’s how it can help you as an individual and your company as a whole.
Defining Work-Life Balance
The simple definition of work-life balance is just as what you may expect it to be; It is how an individual balances both work and life.
More importantly, it’s allowing individual freedoms to be permitted in the workplace for employees to have “a life,” so to speak.
Certain perks can are given to employees to help increase the balance an individual has with their work and life. Here are some:
- Flexible Schedules
- Work From Home
- Maternity/Paternity Leave
- Free time to pick up children
There are a couple of things that employers can do to lessen the pressure of having an employee be there for eight (or more) hours a day in their time. A lot of it has to be preached down from leadership to be executed.
Believe it or not, high-stress levels and long hours is not solely the fault of the employer. Employees are not utilizing some of the perks that companies are promoting.
If you want to look at something like vacation days, they are going unused. Mostly because people pressure themselves to work more and saving them for later dates.
People unknowingly think that working more hours gets more accomplished than just getting more work done in a short amount of time.
Tips To Achieve Work-Life Balance
The best tip that we can give to achieving work-life balance is making sure that you have an ROWE. A Result-Oriented Workplace allows for people to focus on achievements.
The nine-to-five schedule is the traditional norm that people think is the best method of working.
Though the traditional style of management is persistent with keeping this model, there are advantages of having flexible schedules that are the product of result-oriented workplaces.
You can get a lot more done in a shorter amount of time if you work within a time frame that suits the individual. Come up with a way that works for your organization, or office that can handle the constant change of schedule.
It sounds drastic, but once it’s implemented, it works. Treating people like adults and giving them full autonomy to complete tasks and work on their own allows them to excel in the workplace and innovate easier.
Achieving balance from an individual standpoint and a corporation/office standpoint are two different monsters. So here’s how to do both:
Achieve Work-Life Balance As An Individual
People feel overworked, but what they fail to realize is that this is mostly their wrong-doing. Yes, there are a lot of pressures of working in corporate America, tech startups, and various other industries, but it’s up to you to manage your time efficiently.
That’s right; time management is the key to achieving balance with work and life.
The same way that an individual balances finances should be the same kinds of emphasis that one puts when managing their schedule. The best part is that companies are not only encouraging “putting the individual first”, but technology is now assisting people with managing their time effectively.
There are a couple of apps that can be used to make sure that you are hyper-focused during your time of work, and that you can get the most out of your workday.
- RescueTime: Time Saver app
- Calendly: Individual Schedule Times
- Google Apps: Work Apps To Ease Work
- Slack: Easy communication with colleagues
The list goes on and on. The rise of workplace tech has made sure that people can get more done and do it on their terms.
At the end of the day, you are going to be the one responsible for the amount of work that gets done and how you choose to work it around your schedule.
Though this may sound selfish, set up your weekly work goals and “at-home” goals, then find a way to make sure that your “at-home” goals get accomplished. Prioritizing your home goals will make sure that you can sacrifice some of what you do at work, to focus on you.
A traditional style of office may not like to hear it, but it’s how the current and next generation of employees want to work. And it’s how they work efficiently.
How To Promote Work-Life Balance As A Company
So having a result-oriented workplace is not just a cool thing to do, it’s becoming the norm for businesses of all sizes.
No matter what brand of leadership your company has implemented, you have to make sure that your employees are ok between the ears. So promote the use of the aforementioned technologies and ensure that you have indicators that measure improvement.
There are companies that have their HR departments function more as data scientists, that look at every aspect of the job to make sure that employees can be as productive as possible. Though it doesn’t have to be that tedious, per se, having the same kind of enthusiasm towards making others better has positive effects.
Making those investments pay off in the long term. Having employee perks can be used as a great recruitment and retention tool, the same way that having a lot of “balance” perks will allow them to be more inspired to accomplish more, in and out of work.
At the end of the day, it’s about seeing what are some of the most affordable perks that your company can provide and see how you can keep boosting productivity and make employees happier.
Work-Life Balance And Job Satisfaction
Balance is easily the most important thing that factors with job satisfaction.
There’s obviously other factors, like compensation, challenge, as well as management, but if employees aren’t given opportunity to balance out their lives and work, it’ll lead to dissatisfaction.
Companies have now learned of the advantages, from both an employee engagement standpoint and for the bottom-line, that having satisfied employees has.
Stakeholders, investors, and many other will often invest in companies that do a lot for their employees and give them the ability to work fulfilling lives.
So why isn’t it the norm?
To put it frankly, the traditional method of business calculates productivity by hours worked, not necessarily what has been accomplished. So switching that mindset up can be difficult, and finding, or optimizing what works, will be extremely cumbersome. But down the road, it will help the business overall.
So start finding ways to improve job satisfaction and finding ways for all employees to achieve balance.
How To Improve Job Satisfaction Utilizing “Balance.”
A couple of things were already mentioned when about job satisfaction. Compensation, having good leadership, and even having a real challenging job allows people to feel engaged and embrace their work.
If the cost of living in a city where individuals are working out of is high and you aren’t paying a decent wage, it’ll be tough to balance out finances, work, and afford some of the extracurricular activities that are healthy for a person’s growth.
I have previously alluded to how Google tends to overpay for their employees, only because they want to make sure that they are satisfied with their job and make sure that they have enough money to afford some other stuff outside of work, even save up to start new businesses.
So yes, compensation is critical for letting people have balance, but it’s not the only thing.
Believe it or not, having a challenging task or goal can help with balance.
Some of the best work that individuals have come during off-time. So when giving someone a daunting task, it enables them to make sure that they are working hard and that when they are walking, driving, or outside of the office handling another task, an idea, or game-changing solution can spring up. It’s very similar to people having brilliant ideas when showering; the best ideas come from the unlikeliest of times.
It’s all a matter of making sure that a person has the capability to relax and think out all the things that may, or may not, follow them out of work. So that when they get back in, they are fresh and can come up with solutions.
When I spoke with the founder of the energy project, he told me about the theories that his company help push. A lot of them have worked for companies. Working with a person’s energy and giving them a lot of down time to recoup their energy, helps them figure out problems.
To put it simply, if you challenge people, give them a lot of time off, and the ability to clear their minds, they will work better and have satisfying lives in and out of the office. After doing all of that.
Just make sure that you’re doing your best to maintain a high satisfaction rate and giving yourself or your office the perks to obtain a balance between work and life.
How To Maintain High Job Satisfaction Rates
It’s rather simple, just make sure to keep employees happy, challenged, and paid well.
Those three things will allow for your employees to enjoy their job and not worry about some of the stresses that other disengaged employees have to face.
Startups believe in incremental change, making sure that people are happy with their jobs can have the same process. Taking little actions to constantly optimize the way the office functions. So if you can’t afford a big, drastic change, try something like working 36-hour workweeks, as opposed to 40. It’s how it is done in Europe, and here’s how their satisfaction rates look:
It is the timeframe that the rest of the world uses for work, so try it out and see what kind of results it has on people. Don’t change the way you work, merely look at the way you are currently working, and see if you can be more productive by doing less.
If you can’t cut hours, how about having a day that is not that busy and use it as a half day?
Taking half of Friday off was a trend in my old office in Canada. It led for a lot more to get done in the morning, and for more people to enjoy and embrace the culture of the office and get to know the colleagues.
It is up to management to figure out the formula that will work, hence the term office chemistry being fitting. So if you want to make sure that the chemistry in the office doesn’t lead to a massive explosion, make sure that employees have the ability to balance out their work and lives, and make sure they can have a fulfilling life and career.
Are You Satisfied With The Balance Between Work And Life?
What steps are you taking to make sure that you can achieve work-life balance at your office?