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What does work-life balance mean to your team members?

The term ‘work-life balance’ can mean different things when it comes to individual employees. The challenge for the business owner is in comprehending how the employee views this balance and in monitoring individual team members.

This is the very core of successful HR practices – allowing a customized definition of balance while not compromising your business objectives.

For some, the balance may mean being allowed to start their day while others are still sleeping so as to be available for children getting off to school. For others, the balance may mean having a defined and definite finishing time for their day.

The key here is to consider the whole person you have employed and to allow them to work to their best ability & working style. Some people simply cannot sit at a desk for 8 hours and be productive – and some need to know that they can have their weekends & evenings free.

The one standard and universal metric for work-life balance are that both parties – employer and employee are comfortable with the arrangement and that the mutual goals are being met.

What should you do when employees become overwhelmed by work?

Sometimes an employer just needs to step in and reassign work. While there are many employees who will give their all and who are perfectly happy working at a high level 95% of the time, it is critical that the lines of communication remain open – so that the 5% where high-level output becomes stressful for the drivers, that they may step away. For these high output employees, you need to build a support structure and at the same time build a succession plan for their potential absence.

What about when you feel taken advantage of?

Similarly, at the other end of the scale, there are those employees who are constantly having home life dramas and requiring more flexibility than others. The only way to manage this is to have systems in place that track productivity and absenteeism. Being absent does not necessarily mean lack of productivity.

Again, lines of communication must be open and be transparent. Often the dividend of trusting employees to complete their work is respect and loyalty for the longer term.

How about work-life balance for business owners?

It can feel at times that the employees take all the balance, leaving the owner with all of the headaches. Always remember, as a self-employed person, you must have the discipline to also allow balance for your own life and family. Include in your employee work-life balance audit your own situation – you are in it for the long haul, so you absolutely must make it work for you! Appoint someone to monitor your own schedule and workload – it’s the best way to keep yourself in check.

Always remember the definition of balance is in the eye of the beholder – the true key to success in this arena is to find out how your employee views this aspect.