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Work-Life Balance: Little Things Make Big Differences, Part 1
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Work-Life Balance: Little Things Make Big Differences, Part 1 - Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: Little Things Make Big Differences, Part 1

Executive Leadership Articles

Work-Life Balance: Little Things Make Big Differences, Part 1

Helping employees find work-life balance is a big problem requiring big solutions, but sometimes addressing little things can make a big difference. Lots of little inconveniences lead to big stress, but since they are little, many employees don’t consider them important enough to address by themselves or to ask for support with. Looking for little leaks in morale or little speedbumps in your team’s workflow can make the work part of the balance friendlier toward the life part. Here are a couple of smaller ways to address the issue that can not only lighten the burden at everyone’s desks, but make seeking balance less of a monster.

A computer at every desk is the expectation now, but remember when that was the exception, when many workplaces had shared computers? Now that we’ve integrated computer use into nearly all aspects of office life, regardless of title or responsibility, it may be time to move to the next stage of our technological office development: giving our employees the technology that best helps them do the job their best way. You have tech people making sure the technology does what it’s supposed to; now give them the task of making sure the technology works with whom it’s supposed to work.

Give Mac people their Macs; give PC people their PCs. Arm your people with laptops or tablets if they have an inclination to integrate tech further into their lifestyles, and give them the access (with security training, if necessary) to modify their devices to suit their preferences or needs, and permission to use it for their personal lives. Empower your tech people to make whatever fixes they need in order to make it all work together without problems. If necessary, make it someone’s primary responsibility to address people’s specific tech problems as soon as they come up, rather than waiting until someone can get to it. Placing this kind of priority on technology stress builds up your employees’ tech competence, lowers their stress, and enriches their lives. When it comes to tech issues, most people ask for stuff expecting a “no.” Shift the expectation so the default is nearly always “yes,” and watch the shift in culture.

Required Time Off
Most of us have use-it-or-lose-it or buy-back policies for personal time off, but every company has those people who prefer not to take any time off at all unless they’re ill. Vacation benefits aren’t only beneficial to employees; they pay off for employers as well, and honestly, some people on your team probably need to be taught how to balance their lives. Consider requiring a certain number of personal days be taken per quarter, but don’t end it there. For the terminally present, spend time in conversation about pursuing interests, then debrief when the employee returns to work. If nothing else, requiring a personal day every few months decreases the likelihood that coworkers will feel pressured to perform similarly. If some amount of work-life balance is good for the team, it’s better for the team if everyone’s making the most of it. You will almost surely encounter some resistance, but stand firm. If standing firm adds to some employees’ stress, it will be counter-productive, so be ready to counsel them through the process, giving them lots of time ahead of their day off for mental and practical preparation. And as we’ve said before, don’t forget to model it yourself!


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Work-Life Balance: Little Things Make Big Differences, Part 1 - Executive Leadership Articles

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