Supporting a Healthy Work-Life Balance for Working Parents
Back to school season is an opportunity to put a spotlight on work-life balance for families and be reminded that work is a part of life, not all of life. Globally, 40% of people say schedule flexibility — especially flexible start and finish times and the ability to work from home — is one of the top three factors when making career decisions, according to ManpowerGroup research.
Fostering work-life balance doesn’t just mean closing the office early before a holiday weekend, though these can be welcome gestures. For most employees, achieving work-life balance is the most important part of navigating a career.
Right Management’s Global Career Aspiration survey found that 45% of respondents rank work-life balance as their number one career aspiration, and the top definition of workplace success is enjoyment and happiness. That contrasts with just 1 in 10 who define success at work as high performance. In other words, we’re all human. Recognizing that in the workplace is important.
The problem with placing too much emphasis on productivity means the entire system can collapse if one thing doesn’t go according to plan. Instead, leaders should model a lifestyle that accounts for the inconvenient and unexpected, both inside and outside work.
Rebekah Kowalski, Vice President of Client Workforce Solutions at ManpowerGroup, calls this strategy a “a margin of reserve,” or extra time that can come in useful for unplanned situations both at work and at home.
“A margin of reserve is a necessity – at work and at home,” she writes. “It is what gives us perspective, allows for strategic thinking, and helps us handling pressure situations. The alternative is that our decisions are always rapid-fire, and that we only become good at managing the short-term checklist, not leading and shaping the things that really matter.”
Ultimately, creating an environment conducive to work-life balance produces higher job satisfaction, bolsters positive attitudes and reduces employee burn-out. That’s something organizational leaders should keep in mind every day.