Achieving Life-Work Balance: How Employers and Employees Can Band Together
Life-work balance — yes, we’re putting life first in the equation — isn’t just important for one’s personal health and happiness, it’s also a crucial component of an employee’s, and therefore an organization’s, long-term success. A recent Gallup poll found that today’s workforce now values flexibility and freedom more than ever and that “61% of employees surveyed said that work-life balance and wellbeing are ‘very important,’ as compared to 53% of workers in 2015.”
Savvy, forward-thinking employers acknowledge that this state of employee equilibrium is also good for their bottom line. By recognizing an employee’s full life and all that it may encompass, business leaders can proactively battle burnout, increase employee engagement, and improve talent retention.
In today’s era commonly known as the Great Resignation, employees are constantly reassessing their options and reawakening to the power they hold as workers. Collectively, we are now at an inflection point; how do we create more life-work balance that results in stronger, more gratified employees and better business outcomes?
Taking Responsibility for Our Own Stability and Success
Individuals possess more agency in their professional lives than perhaps at any other time in history. We’ve undergone a societal shift that is continually reshaping employer attitudes, expectations, and what the confines of physical workspaces look like, to create more sustainable and satisfying work experiences. We should seize this exceptional opportunity to reimagine our personal and professional personas to establish more alignment in all areas.
Here are the top five ways to create more life-work balance for you and your employees, starting now:
Find your purpose — even in the day-to-day. We may not all have our dream job — yet — but celebrating our contributions and everyday wins is paramount to establishing balance. Without identifying our why, we’re more prone to resent the hours we spend at work and are less likely to enjoy the time we spend in personal pursuits — one perennially tugging at and undermining the other.
Prioritize your health — mentally and physically. Avoiding the plague of burnout means acknowledging when something doesn’t feel right, so be sure to take the time to self-reflect and share concerns with your manager. Are you feeling stretched thin? Are you constantly overwhelmed with your workload? Could you use more support from your team? Be aware of mental and physical signs of exhaustion, cynicism, inefficacy, and disengagement. If you begin to experience these symptoms or emotions, know that it’s OK to seek counsel from family and friends, colleagues, managers, or professionals.
Work with your teammates to create schedules that work for everyone. One of the biggest benefits of today’s more attentive approach to life-work balance is the freedom to work when it best suits you. Rethinking the 9-to-5 to accommodate personal preferences and lifestyle concerns such as caring for children and elderly parents just might be the key to unlocking more creativity, productivity, and engagement from our teams.
Support yourself — and your team. If you’re a manager, you may feel pulled between caring for your employees’ wellbeing and meeting the expectations of your own higher-ups. Remember that the two priorities aren’t mutually exclusive. By acknowledging and supporting your team’s health and wellness, creating a culture of transparency, and setting a good example in your own boundaries and commitment to self care, you’ll earn the trust and confidence of your reports and your C-suite.
Recognize that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution for you and your employees. In today’s hyper-connected world, the lines between our working hours and our personal time are increasingly blurred and they even tend to bleed into each other. That doesn’t mean that one aspect of our lives has to suffer because of the other. Rather than fighting the urge to completely delineate the professional from the personal, it can be helpful to acknowledge this development in the workforce and find ways to make workplace advancements work for you.
Why Flexibility Is the New Workplace Currency
It’s becoming increasingly clear that employers who are committed to providing environments that support life-work balance for their employees can save on costs, experience fewer cases of absenteeism, and enjoy a more loyal and productive workforce. Freedom is the name of the game for instilling trust and respect between employees and employers, which leads to more robust, resilient organizations that can stand the test of time.
While the more common phrase may be “work-life balance,” we believe putting life first makes all the difference. One way to put life first for employees is to provide them with flexible coworking office spaces with thoughtful amenities in desirable locations that fit how individuals want to work today.