When I hear, “I want to have a work life balance” – I have a knee jerk reaction. I say quietly (or out loud) that it does not exist! There is no perfect balance of work and non-work life. Work is part of life. In fact, it goes back to the beginning of time when (some people believe) we were made by a higher power to have work in our lives as part of the goodness of life. The problem arises when we take work, and never shut it off. Perhaps if we don’t love our work. Never take a break from it. Prioritize it above our family, loves ones and friends.
What I have tried to do in my life is to ask myself (and I suggest this to others), “Do I love what I am doing? Do I get anxious when I am at home about the work I am doing?” If the answer is “No” to either question, then I need to get out of what I am doing. If you love what you do for work, then it doesn’t give you anxiety. The anxiety of the work is half the battle for people to have work-life integration. You can accomplish work while you are playing or having down time so it feels natural and part of your life. When I am on the commode, I check emails, not much else happening – but a great time to get work done in my regular life. While at work, I pay my bills online. Again, it makes me feel less like I am working and more like it’s just part of my life.
What I expect of my own work and life, I expect of my employees. They can pay bills at work on work time – but they also can check work emails at home on the commode as well. I really do try to help them to understand that we want family and home life to be happy. Which means focus on family – take time off for family. But also that work is part of their life and there will be times when we need them during the off hours. This helps people to not feel like its work – its just part of them, and their life. Especially when they love what they do! Hire people with passion for what they are ‘working on’ and it won’t be work to them. Then, give them the freedom to do personal things before, during or after work then work doesn’t become work, it’s just part of their life like eating, exercise, and the like.