Leaderships tips – Work-life balance for self and company
Professionals in Asia are some of the most overworked office work forces in the world. While the culture of overtime and always-on-standby has subsided in the past decade, stress management and work-life balance are still topical issues for corporate leadership. Many leaders themselves fall into the traps of workaholism, which then trickles down the company hierarchy.
As a manager aiming for an authentic leadership style, it's crucial to practice what you preach. How you balance your own personal and work lives sets the tone for your team and impacts company culture.
After all, balanced lives equal happy employees, which in turn, benefit talent recruitment and long-term company success.
Rethink how you manage daily operation
We've all been in countless daily or weekly meetings where the manager holds court, and everyone takes turns updating their progress. The arrangement is designed to convenient one person, the manager. But it's a waste of time for the rest of the team. Are meetings the most effective for collaboration? Can the discussions be done through group chats and project management applications?
Here's another idea. With the advancement of video conferencing software, can the company institute a few work-from-home days? This will surely help employees save time on commuting. Time is the most important resource when it comes to work-life balance. Review daily routines and implement more time-efficient solutions.
Beware of technology
On the flip side of new technologies is the creation of a 24-7 communication channel between the employer and employees. Particularly in corporate Asia, managers are increasingly assigning tasks and requesting deliverables post business hours via the slew of mobile apps.
Leadership must set guidelines for after-hour communication to prevent the abuse of power by managers and ensure everyone gets proper downtime.
Time management - you're not as "time-poor" as you think
"I don't have time to exercise."
"I don't have time to have dinner with my best friend."
"I don't have time for my annual physical check-up."
We say these often. How about we change the phrasing?
"Exercise is not my priority."
"My best friend is not my priority."
"My health is not my priority."
There are two issues in the modern workplace.
1) We overestimate our time spent on work.
2) We spend too much time on non-business activities during business.
We have 168 hours a week to get things done. That's a lot. I have a friend who's a single mother raising three kids and still finds time to train for a marathon and operate her own business.
You just need to be strategic and efficient with your time. Get off Instagram and online shopping sites and actually do some work. Or stop multi-tasking. Prioritize what's essential and what's not and complete each task in an orderly fashion.
You'll be surprised that work-life balance is not a pipe dream when you learn to manage your ample work hours efficiently.
Fear of missing out is real
FOMO, or fear of missing out, is a real social phenomenon. That's why people spend so much time on social media and often check work email at home. They are afraid to be "out of the loop". The end result is too many pointless commitments and responsibilities that overwhelm you.
Learn to say no to social engagements that don't add to your lifestyle quality. Decline work tasks that aren't beneficial. Is this afternoon's 2-hour brainstorming session truly needed? Is binging shows all day beneficial to your well-being?
It's ok to say no. You won't miss much.
Good leadership inspires self-care
Now that you have claimed back some of your time, you have to spend it well on yourself. Bring exercise back into your daily life. Make time to eat a healthy breakfast. Shut down all electronic devices and go to bed one hour earlier.
Stay active, eat well, and sleep more - the three pillars of real work-life balance. Commit to these habits yourself, and make sure your leadership and the company culture make these habits possible for others.
Work-life balance = Long-term success
You can be the kind of leader that overworks your team members. You might even see some short-term bump in efficiency and profitability.
However, you have also built an environment that no one can survive long term. It's common knowledge that high employee turnover is very costly.
Have rules put in place to help employees be free of job responsibilities when they leave the office. Host training workshops on time management and self-care. A company that advocates work-life balance is a desirable environment that attracts top talents that will contribute to its long-term success.