We’ve all heard of this. Remember that time you interviewed for that job you really wanted, and how much the employer stressed work/life balance? Remember how you never actually achieved it because you felt the pressure to constantly work due to the demands of the business, and how work/life balance was never a topic of conversation? Yeah, me too. Hi there, I’m an employee. And here’s my story.
I work from home, in my downtown LA apartment. I work across various teams, with different clients, and while I enjoy the flexibility of getting up for a meeting, then heading back to bed to work on various projects, I find myself staying in that one spot, for hours, glued to my screen, working. Hours go by before I realize that I need to eat, or perhaps get a drink of water, or even simply remove myself so I can refocus my thoughts for later.
But work/life balance isn’t lessening the workload. It’s finding a workplace (or clientele) that values balanced working hours with my home hours. It’s about maintaining my before and after work routine, so I can maintain a sense of normalcy in life. It’s about a company realizing that vacation time isn’t just giving an employee 10 days out of 365 days a year. Reinforcing that a company cares about its employees, now more than ever, is extremely important because replacing a burned out employee who has dedicated themselves to a company is harder than finding a new one.
Companies should encourage their employees to value time spent with friends and family, to realize that things won’t fall apart when they take time off. That stepping away from their desk for a little bit is okay, and not be made to feel that you’re neglecting your job.
True work/life balance are elements in your life coexisting together. Having the time to go to an appointment without feeling rushed and stressed about work. It is being available core hours and getting what needs to be done on your time. You are in control. For example, if an idea comes to you while you’re watching a show or reading, it is the passion behind the thought that sees it through because it’s not work, it’s life.
And being able to navigate your life based on what you want and need to do in the present is what causes you to be your best self. A 9am-5pm or Summer Friday can help create an illusion of work/life balance, but if you’re stressed Mon-Thurs 9–5, then are you really achieving that balance?
Interested in continuing the conversation? Reach out to me at Ale@gokatch.com.