Studies show that although almost 90% of executives believe work-life balance is critical, less than 20% of their organizations have a program to support it. This suggests a need for action to improve balance in the lives of executives and their employees.
Your business exists to serve your life, not the other way around.
We all face pressure to spend an inordinate amount of time on the job; whether bottom line responsibility, emotional connections, social expectations and/or pride. Few of us look at our personal balance sheet and recognize the costs of imbalance, such as difficult relationships, unending stress, poorer family life, health risks, and unhappiness. Women, who usually spend more hours on non-work responsibilities such as housework and childcare, risk greater costs.
What can be done?
1. Set a clear direction for the organization. A well-articulated mission, vision and clear plans, point out your most important actions so people can work smarter by investing more time on higher payoff tasks.
2. Distribute workloads equitably and fairly. Start with yourself. List the 20% of your tasks that deliver 80% of the returns. List those tasks on which you spend 80% of your time. They are unlikely to overlap much. Shift your time to the high payoff activities. Delegate tasks to others, who are better suited to perform them. Drop some altogether.
Ensure everyone identifies their top 20% productive activities to help them focus on those tasks that deliver the greatest organizational and personal returns.
3. Train, develop and empower decision-making closest to the point of action. Reduce time spent on decisions by having those who take the actions make them. When they develop and use their skills and insight everyone saves time.
4. Ensure everyone has the right resources. Look at yourself as a customer of staff, technology, outside suppliers, and the organization. Identify what you need, precisely when and in what form. Create systems with the fewest possible steps, to deliver. Require that everyone, particularly those on the frontline, do the same.
5. Lead by example. Ensure you invest more time on family, friends, community, spiritual and self-care activities.
Everyone thrives when you commit yourself and lead everyone else to the optimum work-life balance. Your organization will benefit from better decisions, more directed action, and happier employees. The organization will serve everyone’s lifestyle, as it should.