The idea of work-life balance has become something of a cliché over recent years, but, if we want to avoid burnout and be the best we can be, striking the balance is important. So, what does work-life balance mean and is it possible to achieve it? Additionally, how does striving for a work-life balance affect an entrepreneur’s journey?
What is work-life balance?
Work-life balance refers to how we divide our time and attention between work and other areas of your life, such as raising family, pursuing hobbies and taking a well-earned break, all while ensuring one area doesn’t diminish the quality of the other. Our work and non-work lives affects each other in many ways and striking the right balance important for your overall health, wellbeing and productivity.
Examples of work-life balance
Sometimes work and business is demanding. Chaotic schedules and multiple demands can interrupt personal time or leave a person too tired to do much else.
Most companies and individuals realise that this kind of schedule on a permanent basis isn’t sustainable, which is why we focus on achieving work-life balance. Therefore, taking a more proactive approach to this concept has become necessary, with some companies showing great success.
One prominent example is Google. The tech giant realised that its employees, however resolute, needed time for personal development. The job market is constantly evolving, and no employee wants to feel short-changed, dedicating themselves too much to their jobs with no guarantees.
Therefore, Google introduced the 20% time rule, where it expects its employees to spend 20% of their time working ‘outside the box’ to develop unique solutions to Google’s challenges. This way, employees develop new skills and the company gains from their imagination and creativity.
Zoom was ranked the top company with the happiest employees in 2019 and 2020 because of its efforts to ensure employees were happy at work. Its founder and CEO, Eric Yuan, left a lucrative position at Cisco Webex because he never felt happy going to work. Therefore, he set out to create a work environment that made employees happy and motivated, as is evident by how his staff were dedicated to handling the challenges of Zoom’s meteoric rise during the pandemic with all the chaos that ensued.
How to cultivate a work-life balance culture
As an entrepreneur, you need to institute a work-life balance culture right from the start to ensure its success, and your happiness and productivity and that of your team. Poor work-life balance affects your health, which in turn affects your productivity.
So, how can we achieve work-life balance, and ensure our teams strike the right balance too? Here are strategies to help you along:
The first step toward work-life balance is to determine where work ends, and life starts, and vice versa. Your smartphone is a classic example; stop checking emails at a designated time when you leave the office. Technology makes it easy for work to seep into personal time, encouraging you to reach out to your staff for work-related reasons when they should be focused on their personal lives as well.
Planning takes a short, mid and long term approach. Therefore, you need to plan your financial year, have quarterly plans, and even plan your day. The best way to deal with the chaos in your day is to start with a clear plan of what you wish to accomplish.
This way, you’ll utilise your time well and leave some for your personal life. You’ll also know which activities are urgent and important and act on them accordingly.
Establish effective communication channels
Develop a culture of openness at work to encourage your staff to be more open about their issues. While you may plan for most scenarios, it helps to leave room for understanding new developments. What works now may not work in the future, and you’ll only know so if your staff feel empowered enough to speak up. Remember, work-life balance is not dividing a day equally between work and life. How your team spend their time at work is vital.
Work-life balance is critical to the success of any entrepreneurial venture. This article shares ways to ensure that you and your staff are in the best possible state, physically and otherwise, to handle the challenges of building a successful organisation.