Balancing Work & Life: Your Boss, Your Organization
Every organization has a "work climate" that is written or unwritten, said or unsaid. Some people jokingly say our people don't have to worry about job security because slaves can't be fired. They can only be sold. Usually it is only a joke…sometimes it isn't!!
Your organization and your supervisors can play a pivotal role in your success and satisfaction. So if you are the supervisor, you set the tone.
That means you have to take the time to actually know your employees and show genuine empathy when they are under stress (inside or outside the organization). Balance your feedback to them. That means pass out praise as well as criticism (constructive criticism) equally.
In addition to knowing your people, know their respective workloads so that it is equally balanced. The idea of giving the busiest person the really tough projects on top of everything else only works for awhile. You need to encourage people to step back and take a rest to ensure they maintain a strong performance level.
Be aware of the emotional state of staff members. If people are placing undue stress on themselves, encourage them to take time off and refresh their batteries. If they have problems or issues outside of the office that bleed into their work, encourage them to take the time to solve or work around the issues. Some life situations are inflexible children, family member illnesses, relationships and they need to be addressed before they effect the quality of decisions and work. Encouraging people to take the time to work through these personal items can produce a better, more efficient and more effective employee.
That also means clearly spelling out your objectives and realistic timelines for projects and activities. Ensure they honestly understand that they have flexibility in achieving the goals.
Not everyone is a happy workaholic. Make certain you don't use "Bob" as a measurement for "Jane, Phil, Joe." Each is an individual and requires measurements and workloads based on them as people.
If and when personnel cutbacks are dictated, knowing your staff members can help you as a manager through the situation and it can help your team. Make the reduction decisions based on the good of the organization but handle the firing and workload adjustments based on the good of the individuals. Done properly, everyone can feel as good as possible about the situation and the actions…even you.
Depending upon your personality the right work/life balance is usually under your control…honest!
If you look at the national statistics on the state of individual weight and health condition it is obvious that the majority of people don't have a regular exercise program. There are hundreds of reasons why you don't exercise. But in 15-30 minutes there are things you can do even in the office to refresh your body and your mind. We live in a time of "instant" instant food, instant results -- and it shows on the scale.
We won't bother with the usual control issues that people "emphasize" because you know them -- eat health foods; make meals a social activity, not just sustenance; get plenty of sleep even if it means missing Letterman.
Make certain you have a weekly and daily to-do list. Make the list while you're relaxing in the evening so you arrive at the office already in control. Work the list in an orderly manner even if you don't complete all the projects. Take a look at the things you do during the day and eliminate those that waste time. Usually you can determine what is and what isn't Spam by quickly scanning the subject line get rid of them quickly, even if you occasional discard something of importance. Trust us, it will be around again.
Multitask. If you are on hold for a call, check and respond, forward or discard email. Just as with a piece of paper, only handle an email once. If it is something that requires thought or action, scan it quickly and put it into a to-do folder. Then set aside 30 minutes or an hour each day to handle the work in the to-do folder. Respond or handle every email you receive before you leave in the evening so you can start the day fresh. It also surprises the heck out of people when their query/request is handled so promptly!
There are organizational/departmental objectives, goals and deadlines and there are your objectives, goals and deadlines. Yours are usually higher, tougher and tighter. Often achieving 80 percent of your objectives, meeting 80 percent of your goals and missing your deadline by 20 percent surpasses those set by others.
We increasingly use technology in our work and personal life. It is increasingly difficult to see where one begins and the other ends. With the volume of data doubling every 12-18 months according to industry analysts it is easy to become overwhelmed. We still give people credit for working long days, nights and weekends. We still celebrate the last man or woman standing.
The key is that you can control whether or not you want to be that man or woman. You can control how you celebrate. Life demands work.