Get better results by maintaining a good worklife balance
It’s no news that Millennial employees value a good work-life balance. Over the past years, numerous hiring managers have leveraged this fact to attract top talent. However, managers themselves often find it difficult to strike a good balance between work and their personal lives. This can be caused by an organizational culture where regular employees are encouraged to maintain a good work-life balance, but managers are held to a different standard. Yet even without pressure from their employers, many managers feel that their responsibilities require them to put in more hours at work and always be available—even on weekends and holidays. They arrive at work earlier than everyone else and leave last. They’re never sick, and they don’t take days off. Moreover, though the company allows telecommuting, the only time they ever work remotely is when they’re on a business trip.
But did you know that as a manager, you can improve not only your own performance, but also that of your employees if you maintain a good work-life balance?
Of course, the number one reason for anyone to maintain a good work-life balance is to reduce the risk of burnout. According to Shana Leibowitz in her Business Insider article titled “Here’s how the 40-hour workweek became the standard in America,” 58 percent of managers in the U.S. said they worked more than 40 hours a week. Many work more than 60 hours. And when you add to this the fact that few managers ever turn off their phones, the chances of burning out increase considerably. But the truth is, nobody benefits if you burn out. First of all, it’s an unpleasant and potentially confidence-destroying experience, and one that can have long-term physical and psychological effects. Second, your employer will have to find a replacement for the time that you’re away from work—and that’s expensive. And third, your employees—who rely on you—will have to get used to the temp manager, which will probably initially have an impact on productivity.
At the same time, you’re responsible for motivating your employees and helping them perform at their best—and that means they’ll look to you for an example. If an employee is insecure about being taken seriously if he works from home two days a week, the best way to demonstrate that telecommuting is perfectly acceptable so long as you deliver is to make a point of working from home yourself a couple of days a month (if company policy permits). Likewise, you should limit your work hours and set boundaries around the times you’re available by phone and email outside of normal working hours.
Spending more time not working is also critical to building awareness of real-world trends and developments. Having more downtime means you’ll have more time to read, go places, and meet people. All of this is essential to making sure you have a well-rounded world view, as well as gain invaluable insights about developments and trends that impact your industry. The world is changing rapidly and if you’re in a leadership position, you have to be able to see opportunities as they arise.
With a better work-life balance, you’re also likely to perform better. As Jacob Shriar points out in his Business 2 Community article titled “The Manager’s Guide to Work-Life Balance,” taking time to recharge allows you to get back to work refreshed and recharged. When you’re more rested and relaxed, you’ll be mentally sharper, and that in turn will improve your performance.
Remember: spending less time working doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be less productive—so long as you work smarter. Delegate what you can; make use of flex work and telecommute options; and use all your vacation days, because maintaining a good work-life balance can mean the difference between just putting in the hours and delivering outstanding work that gets you promoted.