By identifying the patterns and parameters of your own work/life balance, you can create a structure to effectively manage the challenges faced in both these roles. This structure can de-stress, refocus and reenergise a leader and their workforce.
What are the factors that affect the boundaries between your work and personal life? By understanding those individual work/life patterns and preferences, new strategies can be identified and small changes made that can make a person more engaged, more energised and more effective both on and off the job.
By gaining a clearer picture of your work/life parameters, you can learn to be more effective and reduce stress by trying different techniques and making new choices.
Your work and personal life can be affected by the following factors:
These three factors – behaviour, identity and control – set the stage for how we manage boundaries between work and life.
Once we understand our individual patterns, we can adapt the following five-step process to creating a structure for effectively addressing challenges in our lives:
Of course, we do not always have complete control over our environments and in such circumstances, self-directed change isn’t always possible. In these cases, individuals must reassess how work gets done, and talk to their co-workers, team members and bosses. In doing so, they should be clear about what would work better for them, and see what’s possible. Even if you end up putting in the same hours, a small improvement in the sense of control over your work can boost energy, focus and productivity.
Human resource (HR) practitioners and managers have a role here too. HR practitioners can institute new policies and change practices to give workers more control, such as including flexitime or telecommuting policies. In this way, they can make a significant difference by ensuring that the organization’s environment is supportive of individual needs to accommodate both work and life. Ultimately, it is the organizations that benefit when individuals feel supported, engaged and effective.
As for managers, they can help employees feel supported by having open discussions about how to manage the interface between work and life, showing that the juggle of their different roles are valid concerns for the organization. Finally, family members and society have a part in this as well; preventing overload is not simply an issue for the individual.
Making Your Life Work: A New Approach to Increasing Your Effectiveness On and Off the Job. Marian N. Ruderman, Phillip W. Braddy, Kelly M. Hannum & Ellen Ernst Kossek. Center for Creative Leadership (CCL®) White Paper (November 2011).
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