6-Ways Boomers and Millennials Can Look Through Each Other’s Work-Life Balance Lenses

Can you see what I see?
Can you see what I see?

More hours worked at the office or shop does not mean more output. More output means more output. October is National Work and Family Month which celebrates being successful at work and home. Many Baby Boomers (born 1946-1964) and some Gen Xers (born 1965-1979) have worked and lived under the premise that working very long hours and weekends show they care about their company and are loyal to their organization. Dr. Leah Jackman-Wheitner believes folks over 50 tend to have more of a sense that lack of balance and spending way too much time at work is the only way it can be. There’s more of a sense of hopelessness and less motivation to even attempt a change.

I encourage Boomers and some Generation Xers to begin looking through a different lens. A millennial’s (born 1980 – 2000) perspective shows more output can be achieved by embracing the work-life needs of employees and managers. Millennials are leading the charge by implementing technology to give them the ability to produce more output while allowing time for living life outside the office. They realize output can be produced while not physically being in the office. In other words, working from home, the park, or Starbucks is common place to produce the company’s desired output.

A millennial’s desire to balance work and life comes with its challenges since many millennials are working under the supervision of a Boomer. Today, our organizations are operating with three generations in the workforce. Many Boomers have put work and career growth as their number one life objective at the expense of everything else to include their family and health needs. Self-care among Boomers is at an all-time low and is getting worse.

According to a 2016 Gallup Report, over two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese and Boomers are in the lead. Boomers and Gen Xers have increased their weight 3% per year since 2008 with becoming overweight while millennials continue to decrease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chronic diseases due to being overweight and obesity such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, and type 2 diabetes are the costliest and most preventable health problems facing our country.

It’s time to start learning from millennials:

Enjoying Work & Life
Enjoying Work & Life

Millennials have been embracing the integration of work-life balance at a much greater pace than Boomers and Gen Xers. The result of their efforts are producing favorable results. Millennials are decreasing their overweight and obesity percentages year after year. They eat healthier, exercise more, and have more leisure time. They enjoy the outdoors and have mastered hand-held technology to help them and their followers produce greater output for their organizations while staying engaged in with their social circles.

Brette Rowley (millennial) is a millennial career coach. She says many of her clients seek careers that enables their ideal lifestyle rather than building their lives around careers as their parents have largely done. Brette states millennials are motivated by flexibility, job satisfaction, and a sense of accomplishment rather than salary. A focus on work-life balance has led job seekers to compete for roles in companies who have embraced these tenets.

“No matter the pressures or anxieties life throws at us, our generation is one of the best at always finding ways and times to enjoy other aspects of our lives rather than just work”, says Bob Sheehan, a consultant at the Gallup organization. Bob states millennials must enjoy their co-workers, find meaning in their work, and be involved in organizations that support integrating work and life.

Three Work-Life Balance Tips from Millennials

1. Self-care must be the first and foremost priority for all generations. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and getting an adequate amount of sleep is essential to becoming healthier and preventing many chronic diseases. If you are already in the overweight or obese category, begin a walking program with co-workers, family, or a friend and discover the wonderful benefits that surface from walking 45-minutes per day.

2. Work to live don’t live to work. Don’t lose sight of why you are working. This is about setting priorities in life. Where does your worth come from? Is it from how your employer values you or do you gain intrinsic worth from how your spouse, children, and friends value you? Try to break the paradigm that more time at the office means you are a dedicated employee. If you are managing others, try looking through their lens to see what’s important in their lives. Perhaps there is something you might want to emulate.

3. Enjoy life today, don’t wait for tomorrow, for tomorrow will have its own worries. We are all seeking well-being and happiness and are finding new ways to discover sustainable well-being and happiness. Don’t leave this earth wishing you had spent more time on X or Y. Make a decision to balance your imbalances today and begin your journey toward happiness.

Three Work-Life Balance Tips from Boomers and Gen Xer’s

Uh oh!
Uh oh!

1. Respect others who have company loyalty for it is the passion that drives the mission. Being loyal to a cause or mission drives fulfillment in one’s work for many people. Company loyalty is to be applauded. You, like I, might not agree on defining loyalty by time spent at the office. Instead of trying to change the definition, try adding to it so your methods of working and living a balanced life is considered a productive effort to the company loyalty hallmark since you work and live with passion and energy every day.

2. Include a spiritual or faith component to your work-life balance formula. Boomers and Gen Xer’s recharge their energies through spiritual meditation or prayer at much greater rates than millennials. WebMD states meditation or prayer results in people living longer and healthier lives. They are able to recover from surgery at a significant greater pace than people that don’t include any form of meditation or prayer in their life.

3. Don’t make the mistakes we made. Every generation would like their children to have happier and more fulfilling lives than those of their parents. Many Boomers spent too much time at work and neglected taking care of themselves and spending time with their families. It is important to attain value from work; however, don’t let it be your only definition of worth. Keep pushing and encouraging us to embrace authentically the work-life balance policies of our organizations. We too have egos and it takes a little time to admit the younger generation has a better answer to a successful life.

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