It’s not surprising to learn the integration of work-life balance into the lives of executives is perhaps becoming the new gold standard. Articles are appearing frequently on how Wall Street CEO’s and “main street” entrepreneurs are reaping benefits of a balanced life. More specifically, they are experiencing the health and energy benefits of self-care which leads them to greater well-being, happiness and profitability. More and more CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies are exercising daily, eating healthy and becoming accustomed to anxiety-reducing techniques such as meditation. It’s time to lead our organizations by promoting diversity and inclusion of all employees toward work-life balance and self-care.
Self-care is the conscious decision to take care of one’s own needs. These needs include diet, exercise, sleep, meditation, and other mind and body relaxation techniques. The benefits of exercise begin to surface almost immediately and spill over into other roles in life. For example, a CEO friend of mine began wearing a fit-bit which encouraged him to begin walking with his wife after a long day at the office. Within just a few days he noticed that he began sleeping through the night for the first time in years. His uninterrupted sleep refueled his tank which caused him to wake up restful and relaxed in the mornings. In addition, he described his emotional state of mind as being more calm and clear. This helped him analyze information quicker which led to faster and more rational decisions. He found himself doing more work in less time that he had done in over a decade. He discovered within weeks that his productivity continued to climb as he continued to walk. Consequently, he and his wife’s relationship began to flourish thanks to the extra time together. This is an example of the domino effect; when one makes a conscious decision to improve one aspect of his/her life, other areas will start to improve as well.
Investing in a fit-bit and walking for short amount of time after work is arguably not an immense change. Since productivity can be improved with slight modifications to your work-life balance formula, then we should roll it out to the entire workforce, even if we do it for a selfish reason such as to increase productivity and profitability. It’s time for leaders to appreciate and promote a life of balance. It’s healthy for our employees, organizations, and country. As a result, employees and managers will be more productive at work and home because they are happier and more engaged in both places.
Three things you can do today that will have an impact on your life and your associates, regardless of the size of your organization:
1. Get out of the office and walk the talk: If you and your employees are eating at your desks while trying to do additional work, know this is an imbalance. Encourage them to walk to a local eatery and dine with a friend. Other days, they could choose to bring lunch to work and walk to a pretty area to eat with co-workers. Some may wish to go to the gym to exercise. If they need an extra 30-minutes, see what you can do to accommodate their needs. Bottom line, help your employees get up and get active – it’s a proven formula for increasing productivity and happiness at work.
2. Fitbit walking pays for health insurance deductibles: Most of the national health insurance companies will pay you to walk! Employees are earning $1,000+ per year for walking and moving around. Many insurance companies will give employees a fit-bit and a formula on how to earn money per day. All of the earnings accumulate over the year and the employee receives a credit toward his/her deductible. Not only are people saving money each year on health insurance out-of-pocket costs, they are feeling happier and healthier along the way.
3. Flextime needs to be flexible and personal: Many organizations offer flex-time yet don’t allow it to be very flexible. Instead of a one-size fits all, allow the employee and direct team leaders to work together to meet the needs of all team members. For example, identify the employees that have children involved in extracurricular activities and ensure they schedule their time to make it to the games or school events. Perhaps some employees are taking care of young children or an aging parent and they could use some flexibility on the front or back end of their schedule. Success comes from discovering their needs and allowing everyone to work together. It’s guaranteed to boost productivity because your work team will be more engaged and happy at the office.
Let’s start including work-life balance as a key metric in your organization during the National Work & Family Month this October. You will discover how balanced lives will lead to greater employee engagement, productivity and profitability.