How to help employees balance their work and home lives

The pursuit of a balanced lifestyle has a long and impressive history. Recorded interest in the topic dates back several thousand years. The concept of balance has received renewed attention more recently as people, often under stress, strive to juggle work and home commitments. Helping people balance their work and home life has become an additional expectation of managers who themselves are trying to balance their own. Here are some ways to help yourself and others achieve a balanced lifestyle...

1. Keep things in perspective.

In 'Success: Full Living', Justin Belitz provides a simple method of breaking down life’s activities into seven categories which he calls the ‘7Fs’ - Fun, Family, Friends (Social Life), Finances (Work), Fitness (Health), Faith, and Formal and informal education.49 He stresses that his categories are only suggestive and can be added to or subtracted from depending on your belief system. It’s the process that’s the important thing. Balance is achieved by attending equally to each of the 7Fs. Conversely, when some are emphasised at the expense of others, imbalance occurs, requiring a review of life practices and a return to a more balanced lifestyle.

2. Appreciate diversity.

Workplaces have become more generational, ethnic, and culturally diverse. Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generations X and Y, and people from different ethnic groups contribute to a more heterogeneous and potentially stimulating workplace than in any other period in history. Another aspect of that diversity is the concept of ‘family’ that may, or may not, include children. Your attitude and behaviour must respect the choices people have made. Viva la difference!

3. Monitor behaviour - yours and others.

No one is expecting you to become a qualified psychologist or lifestyle counsellor. In your management role, however, you are likely to be able to help others lead a more balanced lifestyle. You are aware, for example, that people’s behaviours have been learnt - from their upbringing, their schooling, and by modelling significant others. And some people can be oblivious to the detrimental effects that their behaviour can have on themselves and others. By people-watching in your organisation, you will come to realise those who lead a more balanced lifestyle than others and those for whom intervention could help. The ways that you manage these situations will influence your behaviour, too.

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