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Photo: Bernardbodo, YFS Magazine, Adobe Stock

Great Leaders Help Employees Pursue Work-Life Balance

Walking gracefully on the tightrope of work-life balance to achieve physical, emotional, and mental equilibrium is ideal, yet often elusive.


How can you ensure a healthy balance of work and fun for yourself and your team? While living life in the fast lane, work often takes precedence in our lives. Weekends and leisure time are sacrificed at the altar of professional success. Our burning desire to succeed overrides our personal well-being.

Photo: Parth Shah, Co-Founder at DevX Accelerator | Source: Courtesy Photo

When the pandemic struck in early 2020, people were forced to work from home. For many, it threw their life out of gear as they juggled responsibilities in often cramped spaces amidst an abundance of disturbances, and distractions.

Achieving productivity and staying focused felt like a Herculean task. Without realizing it, the thin line between office hours and family or personal time began to blur. Unless employees had space to their advantage, working from home seemed less advantageous than they initially expected.

 

Are your employees walking the tightrope of work-life balance and burnout?

Walking gracefully on the tightrope of work-life balance to achieve physical, emotional, and mental equilibrium is the way to go in today’s volatile, uncertain, chaotic, and ambiguous (VUCA) world.

According to a Gallup report, Employee Burnout: Causes and Cures, 76% of employees experience burnout on the job at least sometimes, and 28% say they are burned out “very often” or “always” at work.

The disruption of work-life balance should be addressed in the workplace. Organizational leaders and managers can lend support to employees in danger of burning their candles at both ends.

 

How to cultivate a culture of healthy work-life balance

Author and motivation speaker Jim Rohn famously said: “Either you run the day, or the day runs you.” This adage beautifully sums up work-life balance.

A good work-life balance is achieved when we meet the demands of our professional life, achieve milestones in our careers and ease out the stress of our personal life.

Increased work responsibilities, longer hours, and home duties can leave anyone overwhelmed. A good work-life balance means finding a greater and better sense of control over what’s happening in one’s life. Striking a balance on the personal and professional front can have a positive effect on one’s physical and mental well-being.

Here are a few ways you can instill a healthy work-life balance for your team.

 

Set boundaries

Setting boundaries for yourself and colleagues is critical to establishing a healthy workplace culture. Boundaries are not just physical but also mental. Whether you work remotely or in an office, it is important to know when to stop and where to draw the line.

Determine when you will work and when you will not. You don’t want to answer work-related emails late into the night, during the weekends, or when you are on a vacation. When you physically leave the office or home office, you should be able to mentally switch off work mode and unwind. Leaders must let their teams know how the importance of closing all “mental” tabs when they are done for the day and lead by example.

 

Communicate to evaluate

As a leader, it’s essential to address the problem head-on. A workplace survey or a psychometric tool can help gauge the needs of your employees.

Employees work better when an organization caters to their individuality, and that’s why understanding the personalities among you has become increasingly popular. Psychometric assessment tools used to measure personality in workplace teams are said to be utilized by over 75% of the Times top 100 companies in the UK and by 80% of the Fortune 500 companies in the US.

A psychometric assessment tool can include factors like job satisfaction, motivation, hygiene factors, self-efficacy, and work styles. These tools provide detailed insight and can assist with action plans to help employees improve performance.

Openly talk to your employees about their expectations from their roles as well as the company. How do they see themselves two years down the line? What goals do they want to achieve in their personal life? How do they plan to achieve their personal goals? What do they do when not working, what does their family time look like, etc.?

 

Educate employees

Equip people with the right tools. One of the best ways to promote a healthy work-life balance is to orient your employees to the concept. Organize and encourage them to attend seminars. Invite a Psychologist, an OB/OD expert, and a mindfulness expert to offer their respective insights on what it takes to achieve work-life prioritization.

There isn’t one fool-proof method to achieve the elusive work-life balance that often evades us. It will take more than one perspective to see what works for employees on an individual level.

 

Promote downtime best practices

Psychologists and mental health professionals have noted how post-pandemic employees are unable to set clear professional and personal boundaries. The pervasive use of technology has blurred the line between work and life. People now use their downtime to make work-related calls, answer emails and be available on ‘quick’ calls instead of using that time for themselves or their families. How a person utilizes their downtime greatly determines uptime (i.e., work) performance.

In today’s hyper-connected world, how possible is it to truly disconnect? While employees should be dedicated and disciplined to maintain a work-life balance, managers must be mindful and sensitive to their personal time.

While effective time management can make your productivity soar, poor use of time can send your efficiency on a downward spiral. Leaders should be conscious of their teams’ downtime and respect personal space. Leaders can help their teams make the most of the time they put into work. Encourage employees to take mini-breaks during stressful projects to minimize errors, keep motivation up and meet deadlines.

 

Work-life balance is not about dividing the hours in your day evenly between work and personal life. Instead, it is more about having the space, freedom, and flexibility to get things done professionally while having time and energy to enjoy personal life guilt-free.

A balance can only be struck if both leaders and employees work in tandem and invest in well-directed efforts to achieve an equilibrium.

 

With 10 years of experience in operations and training, Parth Shah, a Co-founder at DevX, is a go-to person for his team and even a multitude of growing startups. His knack lies at spotting and supporting start-ups, helping them streamline their processes, and even taking their ventures to the next level. After successfully establishing two start-ups and exploring the start-up landscape up-close Parth has learned the nitty-gritty of the industry, which he now shares with fellow entrepreneurs.

 

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Photo: Bernardbodo, YFS Magazine, Adobe Stock
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