If one could describe work-life balance in one word? Priorities.
Balancing a career and professional goals with your health, social life, and leisure activities is not always easy. Whilst many like to separate work and play, American journalist, Paul Krassner observed that many find happiness in having as little separation as possible between the two.
Let’s face it, if you are spending the most part of your day surrounded by four walls and a group of people you were thrown together with, a hostile work environment is the last thing you need. This is where organisational culture comes in. It can hold different meanings to different people but essentially it is the personality of a company; a representation of the environment which includes company values, ethics, expectations, and goals.
How to achieve and maintain a good corporate culture starts with the hiring process. Candidates need to fit the company culture, and existing employees should be aligned with the ideal company culture, values and goals. A good organisational culture also comes with the understanding that you are a team, rather than a group of individuals. This means that employees should become aware of the fact that everyone plays an important role and although departments differ, often one cannot function without the other.
Today’s employees want to create meaning. They want to be allowed a voice, and a good corporate culture should provide a platform for them to speak up. Lastly, of course the basics such as working hours, equality in the workplace and realistic expectations also play a role in the making of happy, and therefore more productive employees.
There are numerous ways to improve your work-life balance, and many companies are making it easier too. London-based company, Happy Ltd makes use of policies such as flexible working, job sharing, and family-friendly work. MD Cathy Busani explains how their policies are working for them:
“Achieving a better work-life balance is a cultural mindset, not just a set of policies. A key element is a ‘can do’ attitude. We always consider unusual requests or new methods within the context of business needs. In practice, we’ve never had an instance where a workable solution couldn’t be found.”
Having a healthy work-life balance has advantages for both employees and their companies.
For employees, proven benefits include increased productivity, health improvements, lower absenteeism rates, and greater employee loyalty. Less stressed employees are able to feel more in control of their working life, allowing them a stronger reign on their personal lives.
For employers, the reduction of staff turnover and increasingly motivated employees creates a positive environment where people want to work, attracting top talent. Additionally, owing to programs like flexitime and shift work, your business can operate efficiently and meet customer demands for more time, without your employees working longer hours.
In order to achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance, keep in mind the following:
- Set realistic goals
- Remember that a healthy body equals a healthy mind
- Take time out when you need it
- Play to your strengths and work on your weaknesses
- Remember that communication is key
- Foster creativity and spend time doing things you love, with people you love
Most importantly, achieving a good work-life balance is about time. Whether long term or short term; value it, manage it, and spend it – wisely!