Arianna Huffington said "Work-Life Balance is a myth", and we agree! There's no need for extensive studies to be made. Just some simple everyday life observations can give you the proof you need.
Have you ever been turned down because an urgent work meeting came up? Have any holiday plans been put on hold because work is keeping you busy? Have you ever sat in a restaurant and been told to wait a minute because an important work call is coming through? If you have answered yes to at least one of these questions, or have thought of similar examples while reading, then there's your proof. Work-life balance is now a dream to many of us!
So, what do you do? Do you drive yourself and your employees to a complete break down, then recruit new ones? You can, but that can be very detrimental to everyone, including the business you lead. Instead, start by pacing yourself; set an example to those around you and create a work-life blending culture.
For starters, work-life blending is about making all the pieces of our private and business life, work together. On the contrary, work-life balance is making all the pieces work at the same time. The latter usually results in putting off simple things, like holding a conversation without checking your phone, driving whilst taking a phone call, and the list goes on. This may have become a normality to both yourself and the people who work for you, but the norm isn't what keeps human beings healthy and happy. No matter how much you love your job and no matter how ambitious you are, not realising the importance of giving yourself and your employees time to breathe, becomes a bubble you live in...But that bubble will explode.
Shifting from balance to blending, may not be easy but it starts when leaders choose to set examples. Such may include:
- avoiding emails and communication over the weekend or in the evening,
- allowing break time at work to really be break time,
- giving yourself time to unwind and letting your employees know that you too need time to relax,
- taking children and/or pets to work,
- taking up a new hobby for which you dedicate time regularly.
All of this may sound very hypothetical for those who feel that life revolves around work. However, we're not suggesting any drastic changes. What we are proposing here is for all of us to truly try to understand the meaning of "people are my most important resource". Lots of our resources are becoming scarce due to overuse and lack of consideration. Make sure that doesn't happen to your people too!