When I say “work-life balance”, what do you think?
Employees: “boundaries from work and control over my time.”
Employers: “my employees asking for more time off.”
Who is right?
They both are.
And the conflict deepens when the business owner confronts her own work-life balance: “How can I justify the time off to read a book when I have a business to run and grow?”
Work-Life Balance can be achieved, and it is not about conflict: it’s about harmony.
People identify with their work. We tend to describe ourselves by our job title and discuss our interests by our industry.
When we are at work, we are known for being a certain type of worker: quiet, or organized, or customer focused, etc. Who we are at work is a big part of our personal identification.
But it is not our only personal identification.
There is also who we are when we are at home.
Late on a Monday night, in our robe, watching TV or reading a book or catching up with a spouse. Is that person described in the same way?
And there is who we are with our friends. Are we the funny one, or the happy one, or the one who always hosts the party?
These are all different identifications we build for ourselves, and there may be more.
Balance is obtained when all these personal identifications are harmonious.
When they all get along and when they all require the same from us.
When these identifications are in contrast — we are different people in different environments, who we are at home hates who we are at work, etc. — that is when we are off balance.
Aligning our personal identifications requires all these profiles to work together and get along: balancing their priorities and preferences. This balance gives us the confidence to build boundaries where needed and remain productive and dedicated to all parts of our life.
For the employer
Employers are far from helpless in establishing work-life balance. On the contrary: you play an essential role in making this happen.
Let your employees explore what they want out of their day to day life, considering all their competing priorities. Encourage them to share the identifications that matter outside of work too, and urge them to build a vision of success that keeps these in balance.
To create a work environment that encourages work-life balance, use your team’s definition of success to build a business that caters to that success.
Contact me to discuss mission statement development with your team. This is a three part workshop to develop work life balance, personal mission statements, and a business mission statement that keeps everybody aligned and in balance.