Let’s face it. Work life balance is dead. It is unrealistic, and expecting it is met with surprised looks and furrowed brows. We can all blame the Internet for this.
It starts with a cursory glance at an email notification on your phone. At that point, it’s the flashing frenzy of reasoning that it could be a crisis; so you read the email. By that point, it is already too late. You’re in it now; you realize you need to react to it some time anyway, so why not now? It is Sunday, however, but it doesn’t make a difference to you and you compose the reply and push the send button.
“I tell people about work/life integration, not balance,” says Ellen Langer, the Harvard professor attributed to coining the term. “Balance suggests that the two are opposite and have nothing in common. But that’s not true.”
Integration is the idea that work and life seep into each other and it is unavoidable to keep them separate. Although it is unspoken, but employees, especially knowledge workers nowadays are expected to be accessible all day, every day. There are no cut off times, and the 40-hour workweek doesn’t generally make a difference. Those who work remotely, have no choice but to check our telephones continually for work.
The most concerning issue with this is that we, despite everything, try to accomplish work life balance and get baffled or disappointed when we can’t. At the same time, organizations are thinking of approaches to keep employees away from burnout while pushing for high efficiency and commitment.
So in case you’re searching for tips on the best way to move employees toward a sound work and a sound life, here are some essential pointers.
Reward your employees for working on weekends.
Some employees are happy to work longer and harder to hit tight timelines and they produce astounding work. Thank them for going beyond the call of duty, openly, rather than secretly saying in hushed tones, that they don’t need to.
Have policies in place to encourage people to take a break when they feel exhausted or spent, with the knowledge that their organization acknowledges them for their additional time and the work that they have already put in.
Express gratitude and kindness.
Practice kindness. Say ‘thank you’ frequently, regardless of whether it’s in a sticky note or on the office floor or on a Zoom call. The quicker organizations understand this, the easier it will be to hire and keep hold of their best assets.
Provide employees reasons to give their best for the organization.
No one would work enthusiastically forever without getting something in return. People won’t simply increase their output and become solid brand champions without getting anything in return. In time, without acknowledgment, they will start feeling disappointed, pushed, and after some time, will simply leave and move on to (what they perceive to be) greener pastures.
Millennials – 47% of whom work long hours versus 38% for Gen Xers and 28% for Boomers – exceptionally value acknowledgment, the work environment, and they demand face-time from their bosses. Leaders must conduct regular one-on-ones with every individual on their team, not to judge them or chastise them, but to acknowledge their contributions, understand if they need any help anywhere and to ensure that they are liking the work and the work environment.
Embrace the new reality as soon as possible.
Employees have adapted themselves to the new normal. And it is time organizations do the sam. Words like ’employee perks’, ‘job satisfaction’ and ‘overall well-being’ are not luxuries but necessities now. Since emotional and physical aspects of work radically influence employees’ life nowadays, it is of paramount importance that employee happiness is taken into consideration.
Work-life integration implies that organizations must think about their employees outside the work setting, similarly as an employee carries their organization’s mission and purpose with them after work hours: wherever they go.
The sooner organizations understand this, the more grounded culture they can work for their group. They’ll make some better memories enrolling connected workers, and employees will remain at the organization longer.
Leaders must understand their team members and give them space.
It is difficult. There is a fine line between managers not getting involved enough and micro-managing; between offering direction and promoting self-sufficiency. It is the organization’s responsibility to arm the managers with the appropriate tools and understanding in this matter.
Managers need to focus on employees’ standard of work, their degree of commitment, employees’ expectations from the job, and their future aspirations.
It is important to note that this needs to be imbibed in the culture of the organization and it should not be something that only the Top Management mentions in their speeches during the all-hands meets because the idea of it sounds cool.
How does everything tie in together?
If ‘work-life balance’ isn’t working any longer, we need something else, something more fluid, something that mimics the manner in which we really work, live and do all the other things. We should concentrate more on the work-life blend or the work-life integration.
Work-life blend implies that there aren’t explicit proportions or shares people need to hit. You’ll generally be tweaking and changing, and you’ll presumably continually feel like you’re not getting the proportions right, yet similarly, as with any great formula, it will in general work out.