Getting Real With Roses

Negotiating The Work-Life Balance

Much has been written on negotiating the elusive work-life balance, the ambiguous task of finding the balance of time and energy spent on work-related tasks versus time spent with family and the pursuit of personal endeavors. Because of the personal nature of the subject, itís not surprising numerous definitions of work-life balance fail to meet the needs and/or expectations of many, but any time the work-life balance pursuit falls short, itís ultimately detrimental to both the employee and the employer.

Unclear Boundaries

Technology such as smartphones, tablets and laptops continue to blur the line between work and life outside the office. In an always-on environment when connectivity is available more often than not, itís easy to wonder when itís okay to power down physically and mentally. Like a late-night, weekday Netflix binge that becomes instantly regrettable when the alarm goes off the next morning, an always-on mentality can quickly wear you down. While itís easy to argue you can catch up on sleep or make up for lost time later, you quickly realize that certain events like lapsed doctor visits and missed school functions and family activities have their own consequences that add up over time.

Consequences of Poor Work-Life Balance

  • Fatigue
  • Diminishing health
  • Lost opportunities with friends and family
  • Unmanageable workloads and expectations

Flexibility Boosts Productivity

In the workplace, many businesses remained locked in a strange limbo of how things used to be and a technological version of the Wild West. This can result in extremes such as demands for individuals to always be available while also trying to maintain restrictions on the use of outside devices and social media. As with most extremes, neither will remain relevant or advantageous for long. Employees who become a slave to their technology and the hours it demands often find themselves neglecting other areas of their life including health and wellness, leisure pursuits to unwind, and time with family members. In its extreme, this results in additional problems poised to spill over into the home and the work place.

Striking a Balance

As long as there are individuals, there will be people searching for the elusive work-life balance. Employees who feel they are supported in this endeavor are more likely to be workers who are productive and contribute to a positive workplace culture. Because a work environment contains so many different people with unique needs and wants donít expect to find one policy that suits each case. Instead, look at this as an opportunity to find out what employees want and need. An honest discussion may unearth opportunities for flex schedules or positions that might be best filled by part-time or temp work during slower times.

This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City, a full-service Kansas City employment agency that provides contract-to-hire, direct hire and temporary employment placement services.