Work-Life Integration: Supporting the Future of Work Life Balance
The only constant is change, and how we see work-life balance is no different. Workplaces are evolving to focus more on knowledge work than factory work, and to focus more on real-time service to customers. Here are some future-focused tips and activities for managers working in this changing environment.
- Know Your Mission and Goals. As a manager, you need to know your organization’s mission and goals, and the outcomes and products your team is responsible for. Knowing the target goals and outcomes provides you with the goalpost against which you can assess work-life balance options. What is your group accountable for? What do you want them to achieve?Understanding clearly what must be done gives you the baseline against which to objectively weigh the process options: HOW those things COULD get done in a way that supports the future of work-life balance.
- Know Your Employees. Knowing your employees helps you assess your options. And let’s be honest — some employees will do better having workplace flexibilities than others. Here are two examples. Miguel is a top performer who frequently produces high quality work products late at night. Does Miguel really need to be in the office from 9 to 5 to meet his targets, or is more flexibility justified? On the other hand, Jane is a newer employee with frequent questions. She has shared that she does better with more structure and more frequent face-to-face check-ins.Miguel and Jane will probably achieve their goals in different ways — and this means they may need to be coached in different ways with respect to work-life balance. Beginning with the end in mind allows more flexibility in thinking about options.
- More Variables = More Options. Too often, managers negotiate work-life needs on a one-on-one basis. Bob has kids with special needs, so he needs to leave early on Tuesday and Thursday. Esha works best in the evenings, because she needs to care for her parents in the morning.Instead of negotiating this one by one, try to build a team environment over time where people feel comfortable sharing their scheduling needs with others. Having more people may provide more options for back-up and coverage needs.
Changes in our workplaces call for new opportunities to see work-life balance in a different way. Managers are on the front line of shaping this change — one team and one goal at a time.