Here are 10 critical questions to ask your people to see if work life balance is a problem in your work culture. If they look at you like you are mad, it’s time to take action before they grind themselves into the ground (or leave).
How many of your people are under-performing because of the stress of growing work and home demands?
How many good, experienced, capable people does your company lose because they just can’t hack it any more?
Ask these questions to see if you have a problem with work life balance in your organisation:
How often do you …
1. Leave work on time?
If they say “ Never” with a proud look in the eye it implies there is something about your work culture that needs fixing. The heroes should be the ones who leave on time, not the ones who sleep at their desks
2. Pause and appreciate what’s going well in your life?
Those that do this will have far more resilience. If they can only answer this question in a work context, it probably shows that the balance is wrong.
3. Find yourself rushing from one ting to another?
In his Do Something Different Guest Blog, Tony Crabbe, business psychologist and leading author says that research has found that we get 40% less done when we rush from one thing to another. So as well as shining a light on potential burnout, this question may also give you an insight into productivity issues.
4. Get time out with your friends?
One of Professor Karen Pine’s 5 Secrets to Low Mood is to connect with people. If your employees just don’t have time left for friends and family, it’s a slippery slope to dissatisfaction and unhappiness.
5. Feel taken care of?
This might give you a perception of how well your company wellbeing initiatives are really working. It might also give you some reflection on leadership styles across the business.
6. Do something just for fun?
It’s not a trick question. So many busy people feel guilty about having fun and yet research shows that introducing fun into the workplace can boost productivity and reduce sick days.
7. Do something just for relaxation?
Most firms are pretty good at helping their people once they have chronic stress or mental health issues, but few do enough for prevention. If few of your people actively pursue relaxation, maybe that’s a role the business needs to step into? Research also shows that vacations play an important role here.
8. Put your own needs first?
One of the problems of overstretched workers is the guilt they feel if they consider their own needs. It’s a cultural thing too. In the UK, many professional people would find it hard to say yes I do this often.That might be different in other parts of the world.
9. Reflect on the part you’ve played in both successes and failures at work?
This is really asking them about perspective. Without it, we tend to plough the same furrough getting deeper and deeper into the rut that is going to slow us down and eventually grind us to a standstill. The opportunity to step back and take stock can be invaluable.
10. Stop work and take a lunch break?
Psychologists have found that inactivity can boost your subsequent productivity by as much as 15%. Brain scans suggest that while we do something else (like eating lunch) our brain is quietly processing the problems we are grappling with in the background and solutions will come easier when we return to the issues in hand. It’s not just about food. It’s about the break!
Take a closer look at our Better Work Life Balance programme for more information.