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  • By: Lynda Stephen

Work Life Balance - Is There Such a Thing?

As you watch your workers arrive at the office this quote by Nigel Marsh comes to mind! ‘There are thousands of people living their lives, work long hard hours with jobs they hate, to enable them to buy things they do not need, to impress people they do not like’.

Bob is late, and his usual excuse is that the train is cancelled yet AGAIN is perfectly valid.

Cindy’s about-to-fall-apart look is probably due to the winter blues. Her boiler is out of action again! It does start raising eyebrows whenever she arrives into the office frequently late because she had to wait for a technician.

Moreover, we have Jeremy, the office party clown. However, here in the office, he seems to be in a world of his own. You and everyone else are aware his party persona hides deep personal issues.

Meet Financial Controller Ann just returned from maternity leave. She looks as if the cat drags her into work – at gunpoint – every morning! Both Ann and partner have to work full-time. Whenever their baby is sick; she has to take off work as the nursery's' policy does not accommodate care for a sick child. GRRRRRR to the business!

Were it not for those hard workers who do arrive early every day because they leave home early, and are willing to work late to meet deadlines; the office would barely function. Right now three people are off sick, and a looming deadline for your latest project makes you feel bad too. As a CEO or manager, what do you do about it? Your workers have a clear case of Imbalance in their work/life reality or as I call it ‘Hamster Syndrome.’ It creates the BURN OUT you are now observing in your staff.


Okay, is that even possible? People come to work because they want to, surely? Wrong. Remember Nigel Marsh? Okay, what work ethos needs changing? The one that says we have to work 9 – 5:30 pm; travel on an overcrowded train to work every day, causing stress that makes workers sick and tired. The ethos that says we have to work overtime when deadlines needs to be met, or that we cannot work anywhere but at the office.

Seven things to change your work culture:

1. FLEXITIME - A modern solution for changing needs. It could certainly help Cindy when she has to have the boiler fixed – she can come in later and work later to make up the time.

2. WORK FROM HOME - Again, modern technology to the rescue! Creates worker incentive to perform well with the added responsibility of working independently. Workers can also structure own workload reducing commuting and stress. Don not tolerate abuse of the practice. Implement on a case by case basis. Staff must know that this is a win-win situation and not a worker right. Set up a management team to oversee the process which must have strict rules. Ann would benefit from this too, especially when her baby is sick and needs to be home.

3. Introduce LIMITED PAID TIME OFF (PTO) – into the next calendar year allowing workers to relax and de-stress avoiding BURNOUT. Jeremy, the office clown, could benefit from time off to recharge his batteries.

4. JOB SHARING – Heh? Do you believe every job is a full-time job? Selected workers can share duties, as and when one needs to start a family or needs to study further. When they work well together, and their working styles complement each other, job sharing is the way to go. It is also a good solution for parents when the children get sick or need support at school events. This privilege has to be monitored closely and earned.

5. Prevent overworking HIGH REVENUE SALES PEOPLE – hire juniors to assist. Leave sales staff to do what they do best – sell!

6. COMMUNICATION – is paramount to create a healthier workforce, an exceptional ETHOS that defines what makes your company the one everyone wants to work in! If you do not talk to your workers how will you ever understand better the dynamics of their work?

7. TRUST – like any relationship, you need to build a solid foundation of confidence, it helps to know your employees are responsible enough to work on their own while ensuring their job is done. People who have work flexibility are more engaged with their work, more satisfied and loyal to their employer.

Try one recommendation today and see whether it works for your business. If it does, try another! You have nothing to lose and everything to gain because sometimes we forget as managers that people are our biggest assets in our organisations.

Start changing your work culture. Contact Sunrock Recruitment to solve your hiring challenges. We find the right people for the right job! email Mel:

Contributor: Lynda Stephen

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