Businesses with a great work balance are not born, they are created. Any Manager worth their salt knows that these types of cultures increase productivity, staff retention and satisfaction. Every day the media shares news of how flexibility is more important than salary for working parents.
It is important for Managers on a personal level to have a good work-life balance, it will reduce your stress, increase well-being and the quality of your work. You don’t need to wait for permission from HR or the “powers that be” to implement policies, but instead, lead from the front to create this environment.
These are six things you can do to start a work-life balance revolution today!
1. Be a role model
Talk about life outside of work. This isn’t about over sharing, but showing the team that other responsibilities and actions outside of work are valid. Building a picture of all the different “hats” you wear – parent, volunteer, student – shows that non-work commitments count!
2. Watch the time and date
Don’t, AND I REPEAT, don’t send emails to staff outside of work hours. It sets expectations that this is the norm. Trust me, they notice those Sunday morning messages when they open their emails. If you choose to send them, set a time delay so they arrive in work hours. Consider for a moment the message about working weekends and evenings?
3. Stop rewarding presenteeism
This is more than just turning up to work when you are sick (which is a whole other blog on its own) but cultural preference for attributing motivation, commitment and work ethic with how many hours people spend at their desk. Consider how you can reward the results of your teams work. How are you measuring the outputs of their work, rather than how long it takes to achieve it.
4. Reward change and challenge
Demonstrate and encourage behaviour in the team that is all about change and reflection. Review regularly what works and what doesn’t; then empower the team to make suggestions and improvements. This is more than annual individual reviews; it is giving ownership to how they do their jobs and how they draw in other elements of their life to make a real difference to their day job. When was the last time you reviewed the needs of the roles within your team?
5. Be an advocate
As a Manager or the leader of a business, you have the “ear” of colleagues. Make sure you are vocal in how you feel the work-life balance of the organisation should be. Use your influence to show the results (as they will be monitored in part 3!) and highlight the benefits to productivity, well-being and staff retention! Talk about making flexible working the default options for all roles where it is possible.
6. Trust your staff …
And trust yourself. You have recruited adults so treat them that way. Flexible working is a great tool to creating work-life balance for all; part home working, hot desking, flexible start and finish times; all of these can be managed when everyone is clear on what it is, how it works, their responsibilities and boundaries.
Good work-life balance is also about what people do when they are NOT at work. Make sure you take all the leave you are due and ensure your staff do the same. If they work over their standard hours they somehow get this time back (as we all know sometimes it is needed).
Which ones will work for you? What can you change tomorrow?