Whether you spend your days in the clinic or in an office, maintaining work-life balance is a key challenge today.
Here, Nathan Jamail explains that work-life balance for business leaders and their employees is really a journey of separation.
Organizations, whether they be dental practices, manufacturers, service providers, etc., are constantly focusing on how to improve production, profits, and performance, while at the same time maintaining a high level of morale. In business today, leaders and organizations have to be more aware than ever of how their employees balance their work demands with their personal demands. This is because achieving work-life balance today is harder than ever.
Leaders, do your employees maintain personal and professional balance? How about you? In this article I'll discuss advice for your employees, but many of us need it just as much for ourselves.
There are no definitive parameters for measuring work-life balance, but there is an attainable goal: personal and professional separation. Leaders set the tone for their employees, so they must understand why promoting separation is key to balance. They also need understand the consequences when personal and professional lives overlap.
Why separation of is so important
As technology has revolutionized the business landscape, many professionals no longer leave work at the office. This causes many people to feel that they spend all their time working or on-call, regardless of location. As a result, many people are doing two things at once, and doing neither one very well. Have you ever seen parents at lunch with their children and all of their attention is devoted to their smartphone? Or perhaps that is you? When your personal and professional lives overlap in this manner, both of them suffer.
Problems can make more problems
If an employee is experiencing personal issues, such as marital problems or the loss of a loved one, it can be extremely distracting to say the least. Personal issues can cause employees to be withdrawn and less effective, costing the organization and also impacting other employees. When this happens, no one wins. Similarly, if you as a leader are having a tough time at work and bring your pain, stress, and frustration home, you can potentially take it out on your family and negatively affect home life
At the office: Jobs frequently require people to work late, to put in extra hours, and spend days on the road away from the family. This is because the job needs to get done, and a true professional understands that they may have to miss a child’s event or be away from home at inopportune times. To be great in business a person must make sacrifices.
At home: Most professionals today work to provide for their family and feel their family or personal life is the most important thing to them. Moms want to be moms, dads want to be dads, and people want to be who they are—other than what their business card states.
Question: How do you do both?
Be present at work: When a person is at work they need to be atwork, no matter their family dynamics or problems—they must learn to leave them at home. The one thing that can make any family problem even more difficult is for that person to lose their job because their personal issues are affecting their performance.
Be present at home: When a person is home with his or her family, he or she needs to be present. Is this you? If so, leave your phone and your uniform or suit jacket at the door. Just like your company deserves your very best, your family deserves your very best too.
In many organizations, leaders may not deal with a struggling employee appropriately, which may result in turnover. A strong leader must sit down with that employee—with empathy—and share the consequences of his or her behavior if it doesn’t change. Leaders can also explore options available to the employee, if there are any, but the key is to directly deal with the issue. Some people may find this behavior harsh, but in reality it is the exact opposite. The leader needs to help the person up so they can get better or give them the personal time and space to go home and resolve the issues at hand. To allow a person to suffer and ultimately destroy their career is short-sighted and ultimately selfish.
Separating personal life and work does not eliminate the personal side of business—it actually strengthens it. The greatest achievement is when a person is doing a job they love and has a family who loves them. The goal is not to sacrifice one for the other, rather to be the best at both.
Here are a few tips on ways to implement habits for your employees—and you—to be present:
1. Never walk in the house on the phone.
2. Change your clothes from work clothes to home clothes immediately upon arriving home so you feel the part.
3. Make eye contact with those speaking with you, no matter if they are your co-worker, your boss, or your three-year-old.
4. Share the expectations with your company team and your family.
5. Be aware of your personal state of mind and change it if necessary.
You and your employees should be happy no matter where you are in your journey. Happiness is not a destination, it is a mindset and ultimately a choice. Leaders, remember that happy employees make great employees and happy people make great people.
Nathan Jamail is president of the Jamail Development Group and author of the best-selling Playbook Series. He is a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and corporate coach. A former executive director, life insurance sales professional, and owner of several small businesses, Nathan travels the country helping individuals and organizations achieve maximum success. Nathan has worked with thousands of leaders in creating a coaching culture. Get your copy of Nathan Jamail’s most recent book released by Penguin Publishers, The Leadership Playbook, at NathanJamail.com.