As the economics of our businesses goes through ebbs and tides, our work-life balance tends to follow those highs and lows as well. It seems like the tides get higher and the ebbs only mean we work harder and longer for less pay. This happens to all business owners and employees.
It is ok to work a bit longer on some occasions, and it is also ok to take time to enjoy our families, friends a bit of quiet time and hobbies. As employers, we need to be ever watchful of our team members work-life balance. I know that everyone says the old days of working for the same employer for twenty years has long past and is no longer part of our culture. I have been discovering that no many of us have been able to retain people from our modest beginning where we all took out the trash and now have all grown into roles of management and more pressing responsibilities. I declare that the days of loyalty are gone. I think that this may be changing because hiring and training costs are escalating especially with background checks and drug testing that we all need to do within the hiring process.
In our company, we started a process of really wanting to consider each one of our team’s work-life balance. This was particularly important to us because we are a 24 x 7 shop and some of our team members work remotely. Honestly, the remote team members were on the list of folks we felt may be working too many long hours. They valued the lack of commuting and the ease of scheduling so much that through our work processes it seemed they were working a lot of nights and weekends and putting more hours in than we had intended.
You may think that we were feeling as though we were destroying our team’s personal lives. We had concerns that we would burn out some key people that we need to grow and service our customers. In some cases we were correct but in most cases, guess what we were wrong. The craziest part is that they told us we were wrong. That many of our staff members felt that they needed more work and more responsibility and wanted to participate more in the growth of our company.
How To: Maintain a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Our process was to create two fundamental questions to each person with a one on one conversation. Then I shut my mouths so I could listen to our people. The question was, “How can Soaring Eagle help you maintain a healthy work-life balance?” They shared insights as to how we can automate things to make their lives easier. They shared bugs in our management software, how to handle meetings more efficiently and some had ideas that were a bit far-fetched like, “I don’t like this task can you take it away?” When explained that the task was crucial in getting payment from the customer they understood.
We worked together to solve the issues and implemented them. I also looked at the time it took per individual to complete tasks that could be automated. If one person is taking several hours to complete a task I can automate in our system.
During our conversations, I was able to get to know each person. Remarkably, instead of getting a lot of whining and complaints we ended up having some substantial discussions about our company culture, how we can all work to improve our working relationships and how we all do care about the goals and dreams of this company.
We have decided to turn this small engagement into a twice a year process to stay engaged with our team members and to improve our culture. Thus hopefully retaining our staff and creating an atmosphere where everyone can have a work-life balance that fulfills our minds, souls and creates paychecks.
Author Penny Garbus