Work-life balance seems to be the term of the day when it comes to professional development and stress management. In jobs that sometimes requires 24-hour availability, the idea of finding time “off-the-clock” can seem daunting and perhaps impossible.
Integration Vs. Balance
Balance implies an equal division. In a world of constant communication, this split more difficult to achieve. The concept of work-life integration is beginning to become a more accurate phrase for how people schedule. The act of finding where work and personal life fit together can make someone more productive, less overwhelmed and more empowered about their own schedule. In a job that requires a significant number of hours, integration is a much more achievable goal.
Keep Work and Personal Separate
If you are on call, this may be difficult. However, many companies will have separate on-call phone number for tenants. If it is you shift, try to let that phone remain separate. On a regular workday, practice healthy separation techniques. Don’t set up your office phone to forward to your cellphone. Have distinct “do not disturb hours.” Create a communications plan or a special ringtone for emergencies or high-priority people that may be contacting you. Keep the two parts of your life as separate as possible when you are off the clock.
Define Your Agreements
It’s not just the person with the job that must be able to handle the hours, it’s the people around them as well. Before making commitments, check with the people close to you first. Figure out when late nights are ok, when you should take on-call shifts and if the people around you are going to be satisfied with your hours. If agreements aren’t properly defined, the stress of home life may add to additional work stress and create more problems. Finding balance for everyone is important.
Practice Self Care
Days are going to be stressful. The difference can be what you do after that stressful day. Finding what makes your relaxed can recharge you and make you better at your job when you get back to it. Maybe it is taking a quick walk during the workday, maybe it is cooking dinner or maybe it is watching sports on the weekend. Both during and outside of your workspace, it is important to know your limits and take care of yourself first. It can also be helpful to recognize when those around you or your employees need to employ self-care as well. Having an efficient and productive team can be impossible if everyone is beyond their maximum capacity.
Sources: Cynthia Mills, President and Founder of The Leader’s Haven