Managing a staff of employees makes “work-life balance” seem even more like a myth.
How do you cope with challenges when launching new projects is stressful? Perhaps your employees begin to get on edge when the strain of deadlines takes its toll. Some may face exhaustion due to negative circumstances in their family or relationships.
“Work ebbs and flows,” notes Cali Yost, founder and CEO, Flex+Strategy Group. “Each of us can optimize our work-life fit differently. The equation will be different for each of us.”
Rather than working on finding a balance, successful CEOs are those who look for ways to help their employees enjoy work more, making things "flow." Here are a few ways to cope in the workplace and enhance the quality of life for everyone.
1. Rather Than Expecting Balance, Look for Effectiveness
Give up the idea of “balance” altogether. It connotes that both work and life receive the same amounts of time and equal focus. This is nearly impossible.
If, however, you focus on the effectiveness of your team, reaching goals may be more realistic. For example, you can allow them to work fewer hours if their productivity levels are high during the actual office hours. Or, you could encourage physical activity, organizing outdoor sports events for your company, special lunches out where they get to invite a member of their family, etc.
Google is known for their Google Cafes, where employees get to hang out and bounce creative ideas around, in a light and playful setting.
“People look for meaning in their work,” explains Laszlo Bock, Google’s Senior Advisor who wrote the book, Work Rules! And led thousands of creative employees on Google’s innovative journeys. “People want to know what’s happening in their environment, have some ability to shape that environment.”
2. Rework Your Definition of Success
What does success mean to you and your team? Each human being sees success differently.
“The notion of ‘balance’ looks different for everyone. Says Patrick Llewellyn, president and CEO, 99designs. “Every day, my balance is changing. And that’s OK.”
However you define it, don’t lose sight of that goal by getting so wrapped up in the daily grind. Make time for what matters most.
As entrepreneur icon and father of three, Elon Musk, recently tweeted: “Sunday morning: to bake or not to bake cookies -- that is not even a question. Definitely bake.” He may be trying to get us traveling the vast universe, but he still keeps his priorities right at home.
3. Take Control of Your Body and Mindset
Taking control of yourself means not going overboard in any one aspect of life. Know your boundaries, and work on self-control; let your employees know you respect their physical limits as well.
Frits van Paasschen, CEO and President of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. manages more than 100 leaders around the world. He told the Wall Street Journal: “It’s important not to be so immersed in your work that there isn’t anything else. Taking care of your body and your mindset, carving out time to do things that recharge you make you more productive in the end.”
Meanwhile, Kayak Chief Executive Steve Hafner prioritizes his health through workouts, sometimes going straight the work in his gym clothes after a morning session. “With a flexible schedule, work can be fit into “bite-sized increments,” he says.
4. Use Technology to Your Advantage
When you’re running business teams on a global scale, you need a clear communication strategy and the most effective tools possible to pull it off.
If you rely only on email for communication, you can lose the sense of urgency a project may require. Having the option of live chat with all your workers means they can communicate anywhere, anytime, even on the go.
Consider ChatWork, a chat app that provides users everything from chat and video conferencing to file sharing, screen sharing and light task management. It provides a real-time flow of communication and keeps conversations, files, images and tasks in chat threads that can be easily referenced later.
The Overall Goal: Employee Happiness & Company Gains
Employee happiness is an essential part of not just creating a better quality of life for everyone, but achieving your business goals. When your workers feel that you consider their needs and give them the right tools to do the job, you’ll all get to the finish line faster.
You can enjoy both your work and family or personal life, because you’ve learned how to make them work in a way that’s best for you.
That’s called flow.