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Making Work Life Balance – the Responsibility of the Employee?

May 23, 2011

“Work-life balance, says Nigel Marsh, is too important to be left in the hands of your employer.” 

This is the description of a great video from the 2010 TEDxSydney event.  I thought this an appropriate quote to start this blog post as I wanted to discuss an article I read on Yahoo! Finance today provided by the Wall Street Journal.  The article “Name Your Own Vacation” by Sue Shellenbarger talks about companies adopting a “no vacation” policy.  The basic premise of this “policy” is that employees can take as much “paid vacation” time as they want as long as they “make sure to get their work done”.  

Now, you may be asking yourself – “Is that even possible:  ‘getting your work done’?”  As the CEO of a technology company with a variety of clients, I can tell you that this is a constant struggle, but a great way to do business.  By being a results focused business, we are not constantly “watching the clock” to make sure that people are doing their job, but instead, are looking at the output of their work effort to make that determination.  As with many areas of a successful business, the key is setting expectations.  In staff meetings, I can’t tell you how many times we have reiterated, we don’t care if you go to the movies at 11:00 on a Wednesday afternoon, as long as the things on your list are being handled appropriately and in a timely manner and progress is being communicated clearly. 

It is vital that people take control of managing their workload and setting realistic expectations.  If you are burned out, you are not going to be productive.  This is where some of the responsibility should be shared by the employer.  If as a manager you are in touch with your team, you should be able to sense when they need a break, before they reach total burnout.  If you are in constant communication with each other, you can discuss setting realistic expectations and help to manage the work/life balance. 

Whether you are a principal in your company, a manager, or an employee – everyone needs to “recharge their batteries” at some point.  It’s usually a good idea to take care of this before they run out completely.

Thanks for reading!

For more information about the innovative way Status Not Quo does business, visit us at www.statusnotquo.com.

Pam

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