We all keep hearing about work-life balance these days and how important it is. It sure sounds important as well but what is it really? Can you really sit down and explain what work-life balance means in theory and practice? It may not be such an easy question after all. Too often you find yourself answering to emails and doing the “small” things in the evenings and still thinking you are all balanced.
Of course we all need to make sure to take care of our work-life balance and this one goes out especially to the bosses out there, but why not everyone else too. People need downtime from work as that is the whole point of work-life balance. Working all evenings and sending out late-night emails hurts motivation, creativity and efficiency, and most importantly work-life balance, of your team.
So what should you do as a boss when you get that great idea at 11p.m? Don’t write it into an email and send it to your team, because that will get them thinking that they need to be working, simply because you seem to be working. Instead, just write up your idea to yourself as a note or draft email that you send out the next morning. Being always available is not what work-life balance is about.
In general, if you find yourself sending plenty of late-night emails to your team, you should take a look at the values you are promoting as a boss. Long work-hours actually decrease the productivity of not only your team, but you as well. To achieve the best work-life balance, productivity and creativity you might want to keep your off-the-clock communication to a minimum and get the maximum from the actual working time that you spend at work.
Being “present” is an idea that makes more sense for work-life balance than just blindly counting the hours you put in. So focus all your attention on work while you’re actually at the office, and enjoy your free time with family and friends. And always remember to smile :)