Seeking Work-Life Balance: Myth Or Manageable

I was recently fortunate enough to be invited to participate on a panel in my workplace focusing on work-life balance – a phrase that is possibly overused and misunderstood and a term that I have read conflicting opinions on in recent months.

The panel forum consisted of a number of employees in the audience and 4 panel member’s, including myself, who each pitched out their own thoughts on the topic and then received questions from the audience. It was a very interesting exercise as I found that each of our situations was quite different. Whereas we may have been in similar roles at work, our roles and focus at home was quite varied regarding how we manage our time and the choices we make. However, there were some consistent themes that carried over between speakers.
My view is that work-life balance is an extremely important facet of my life. I have significant responsibility in my role – something I take quite seriously, particularly the support, satisfaction and growth of my team. However, nothing is more important to me than my family.

My work provides me an income, a great deal of satisfaction and has contributed to who I am, my knowledge, values and self-awareness but I always seek to balance what is required from me at work with that at home. It requires developing a  strong skillset around delegation; time management / prioritisation; recruiting and developing the right team and culture; building trust and many others attributes. I work with many managers who do not find a balance often because they struggle to understand what is most important to them.

A recent article highlights research that demonstrates that many of us are finding this balance more difficult to achieve. Key findings include:

  • The majority (78%) of those who work overtime prefer payment to time off in lieu
  • 75% of part-time workers believe work/life balance is becoming harder
  • 83% of full-time workers believe it is becoming harder
  • 24% of workers earning less than $50,000 are finding it much harder
  • 65 per cent of workers perform work tasks or answer work-related calls when they are on holiday
  • 35 per cent of employees never work on holidays or days off

Source: Work Life Balance Harder Than Ever

It requires a definitive view and focus on goals and direction, otherwise it is too easy to get ‘pulled into’ other people’s needs and wants. Often these wants seem urgent but in fact, are not critical. This is where relationships, communication and prioritisation are key.

This is a large topic that I am briefly touching on, but I would like to share my key thoughts as presented during the forum:

  • Understanding what is important to me
  • Understanding what is important to others – my family and my team
  • Surround myself with a good team – provides opportunity and ability to delegate and share workload
  • Develop my leadership skillset to be effective and efficient
  • Prioritise…Prioritise…
  • Find what you enjoy most…do more of it
  • Find what you enjoy least…remove as much of this as possible
  • Understand values and beliefs for yourself and of those closest to you
  • Communication and clarity are key
  • Work with and for your family and team…not at them
  • Take and maintain control of your choices and decision-making
  • Tell and show those most important to you that you love them…regularly!

One or more of these points may resonate with you and hopefully stimulate thought about where these attributes, actions and skills sit in your life. I would also be interested to know what you have done or work at to strike the ‘right’ balance in your life.