by Taylor Tomita
Every business expects their employees to be engaged. Things seem to work out better for all involved when the professionals that work for your company genuinely care about the way things are done, and the outcomes that arise.
But while you may demand 110% from your staff, it’s neither fair nor reasonable to expect them to eat, drink, and sleep business. The boundaries between work-time and non-work time are blurrier than ever.
Even if you could program your star talent to cook up business solutions in their dreams, it probably wouldn’t be a good idea. Studies have proved what most of us understand intuitively, that the working mind has its limits. When your employees forget about work for a few hours in the evening and weekends, it actually means they return to work in a more productive and creative state. They’re also more likely to enjoy their job.
But even if you don’t insist on round-the-clock dedication to the cause, your star employees may drive themselves to exhaustion through sheer workaholism or just because they haven’t figured out how to turn their work mind off. If they’re kept awake at night by a nagging voice composing to-do lists in their head, they’re not going to be much good for the business and they’re likely to compromise their own health and well-being.
But how can management control what goes on in the lovely heads of those star workers?
It’s all in the culture that you promote within the business. Everybody remembers those dreadful adverts that Fiverr posted, singing the virtues of a freelance workforce who were prepared to drive themselves into an early grave just to pay the rent. Unfortunately, that stuff isn’t harmless. It propagates the sense among those who work ‘for’ (or through) such freelance hubs that they should be drinking coffee on top of coffee to defeat sleep and come through for their clients regardless of the personal toll.
As a business manager, you can be more benevolent in the way that you promote self-care and healthy working. Be as clear as you can about the expectations you have for your workers, and try to minimize hours of extra work. Encourage your staff to leave work on time instead of hanging back for that extra ten or twenty minutes. Utilize flex-time so they’re freer to cultivate outside interests.
Look specifically at your office culture. Are there spaces where people can take breaks that are genuinely work-free? Does your induction tour include references to parks and other resting places that new staff from out of town might otherwise not stumble upon?
Do you have someone they can talk to if they’re stressed or at least ready, publicized resources they can access? Have you found ways to ‘ritualize’ the daily work schedule so that home time really feels like home time?
As a leader, one of the best ways you can encourage staff to cultivate that work-life balance is to lead by example. Work hard, but work smart. Take care of your body, mind, and soul. Be kind to your employees and to yourself.
This new infographic of techniques to stop thinking about work is a great start to mastering your own work-life balance and its full of good ideas to share with your crew.
You’ll achieve much greater things when you’re working in harmony with yourselves and with each other.