I believe that work-life balance has been portrayed as elusive as the search for the Loch Ness Monster! We all continue to desperately seek it out without really knowing what it is or what it looks like. Consequently, we are left feeling exhausted and guilty for failing to obtain an unachievable goal!
If we don’t know what someone’s ideal work-life balance is, how can we as leaders say that we have a great one? Sammy from the dev team probably doesn’t care that you get to go home and practice your golf swing every Wednesday at 3pm. He may just want to stay at work and write the best code he’s ever written!
It’s important to recognise that the narrative of work-life balance varies from person to person. Those of you working 50-hour weeks and sleeping 4 hours a night might feel you’ve achieved the promised land. Someone who works 3 days a week may feel that they don’t have it right. As leaders, it’s important that we recognise individual motivations. This state of zen will help us drive the best performances and get the most out of our people.
So, what’s important to you? It is much more helpful and realistic to re-define the narrative of work-life balance from the perspective of reconciling our/your work, family and social responsibilities. Only then will you have a clear picture of the dragon you are chasing.
I could sit here and write a bunch of stuff about making sure you use your time efficiently during the day and making sure you meditate and exercise, but ultimately you, and your team need to define their own narrative of the elusive work-life balance monster. Only then will you have something to hunt down and achieve. Hopefully, this will lead to a more engaged and productive workforce.