In today's competitive landscape, it's not surprising that for many professionals, having a healthy and productive work-life balance is often viewed as nearly impossible. In fact, a recent survey from Harvard Business School found that 94% of professionals reported working more than 50 hours per week, and 50% said that number exceeds 65. Add to that the desire to spend more time with family and friends (and the summer weather), and it becomes easy to see how managing our careers and personal life can take a stressful toll both physically and emotionally.
Throughout my more than 20 years of experience in public relations, I have found that there is a direct correlation between implementing a healthy work-life balance in the workplace and the overall success of a company. By encouraging employees to focus on work and personal time separately, those of us in leadership positions are helping to ensure that our colleagues are less stressed, more fulfilled, and, ultimately, able to do their jobs more effectively.
There are many ways to put better work-life balance habits into practice. As CEO of Hawthorne Strategy Group, I've had the opportunity to implement many policies that I believe have improved the work-life balance of our employees. Several that I've found to be most successful include the following:
- Work from home policies for specific situations helps alleviate the stress of a strenuous weather-related commute, childcare needs, or important family obligations.
- Flextime allows for individuals to alter the workday start and end time to better fit their schedules for doctor appointments, school, and more.
- Incentive-related outings are awarded to employees who have successfully met or exceeded work-related goals, including new business wins and successful events.
Successfully managing the demands of one's work life and personal life will always be tricky, and advancements in technology with the ability to be connected 24/7 make it that much more difficult to disconnect at the end of the day. However, with measurable benefits to managing the two, I encourage my colleagues in the business and elsewhere to implement these ideas whenever possible. Ultimately, a balanced life for your employees leads to a more motivated workforce and better results.