(and how you can help employees achieve it)
Work/Life balance is no longer the “it” thing
The idea of work/life balance sounded like a favorable idea for a while. We all wish for more time, but the reality is that no matter what approach we take in a personal or corporate level, there are still only 24 hours in a day. The awakened hours are usually evenly split between home and work.
In those hours of being awake, the only way you get more hours on the home side is to take away hours from the work side, because of that balance idea introduced years ago. Do you need more hours to get work done? Guess how you will achieve those extra hours? Whatever you do, it will be at another factor’s detriment.
Replace balance with satisfaction
Now, let’s take another crack at this work and life idea. Where is your level of satisfaction between your work life and your personal life? Are you happy and content on both ends? Does one give more satisfaction than the other? Does one affect the other? THESE are the questions that matter, for no matter where we spend that 24 hours, we can be as balanced as a level see-saw, but if we are not content and satisfied, that balance is pointless.
Needs change – roll with it
The equation of work/life satisfaction is not an exact science by any stretch. The very definition of this satisfaction is defined differently for everyone, with variables subject to change at different points of their career and stages of life.
It boils down to what in your life provides a positive experience. At work, it may be a feeling of purpose, that what you are doing makes a difference. It may be the people you work with and the enjoyment of fruitful collaboration (again, making a difference).
Are you on a path and understand the way to build on your career?
Are you appreciated by those above you and those who look to you?
Are your goals and opportunities well-defined?
Do you understand the value you bring to the organization?
If you answered yes to all of these questions, I would bet money that your work life is in a good place, but that is subject to change as your career changes.
For instance, a front-line employee may enjoy working directly with customers, feeling the satisfaction of resolving their challenges several times a day. She is a top performer by her reviews, and those results tell her that she is making a difference. After accepting a promotion as a manager, she is no longer working directly with customers, but now keeping her team in check and answering to leadership. Her compass of satisfaction is suddenly askew from what it was before. She needs to define what in this new role will make her feel like she is making a difference. This shift occurs several times throughout her career, just like anyone else. Without taking a moment to define contentment and success, that work satisfaction might remain in the wind longer than necessary.
Employees come to the workplace with an unlimited variation of life experiences and aspirations. All of these variables contribute to life satisfaction. A single person aspires to be in a relationship. A newlywed longs for parenthood while a parent of three longs for the empty nesting days. With each achievement of satisfaction, it is often followed by a new aspiration to look forward to. These new aspirations do not necessarily lead to life dissatisfaction, but similar criteria exist as they do with work satisfaction:
Are you in happy and healthy relationships
Do you feel that you are valued?
Do you engage in activities that you enjoy?
Are your contributions meaningful to yourself and others?
Do you regularly see loved ones and hang out with friends?
Do you take care of your mind and body?
Intertwining satisfaction (and balance)
Being that your working and living hours are so close to one another, it isn’t surprising that they tend to intertwine and influence each other, especially in this digital age, where work and personal encounters follow us at every time of day and night, thanks to technology. In fact, it could be that very intertwining digitally that proves to be a direct contributor to your satisfaction in both areas of your life.
How does an employer contribute to work/life satisfaction?
As an employer, likely an HR professional if you are learning more about Work2Live’s program, you already understand that the satisfied employees are more productive and innovative than the rest of the employee population. So how can you cultivate that in this digital age?
Define and illustrate career paths of opportunity
Job satisfaction shines when employees know that they are headed in the right direction to advance their career. Defined requirements help them to develop goals to get to the next opportunity. A great leader will help them by challenging them to try new things outside of their comfort zone and encourage innovative thinking. These challenges will prepare them for their advancement.
Entertain flexibility where possible
Today’s digital age has enabled collaboration and communication without face-to-face interaction. Virtual meetings occur within the corporate walls between different field offices. The same achievements are possible without the team being in an office at all. Enabling a virtual option provides employees more opportunity for life satisfaction to blend with their work contribution. Studies have found that virtual employees are more productive with that flexibility.
Accentuate their contribution
Every person in the organization is there for more than warming a seat. Communicate across the organization the value each role serves, either to the customer or the organization as a whole. Build a culture that says everyone is essential. With each recognition given to an employee, add how their contribution directly affected the customer or organization to drive home their achievement and the importance of the company’s success. This practice builds their satisfaction in the job that they do, no matter how small.
Blend when the opportunity arises
On the topic of recognition, a fantastic way to boost work and life satisfaction are by blending them together. That is precisely what Work2Live has accomplished with the Lifestyle Spending Account (LSA) program. Giving some extra time is one thing, but providing an experience that enriches an employee’s life changes them inside. That change brings a positive vibe to their work and personal lives simultaneously. Would you like to see more about our program? We would love to give you a demonstration of how it all works.
We look forward to talking to you!