Two things in life are fairly universal: Work is Hard, and Life is Messy. Our lives, both personal and professional, are complicated, constantly in motion, and – no surprise here – not always in sync.
Newton’s Third Law of Physics tells us that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. That means that there are two forces at work on the two interacting objects, and the size of the forces on each object is equal. That’s great if we’re talking about kicking a ball, but what about achieving work-life balance?
Well, let’s take a peek inside the Newton household.
After working nine grueling hours in the research lab, Sir Isaac throws up his hands and heads home to unwind and relax. When he opens the door, he finds Mrs. Newton in a complete lather. Dinner is burned to a crisp, their prize bull is foaming at the mouth in the barn, and there’s a note from school telling them that little Isaac, Jr. pushed the Galileo kid on the playground and is suspended. Oh the forces have interacted, but not very equally. Work-life balance is decidedly not in Sir Isaac’s favor.
Unlike Newton’s theory, the force in play here is not motion … it’s emotion. Fast forward 350 years; Work is still Hard and Life is still Messy. So what is the role of today’s employer in helping employees achieve work-life balance?
If you are looking for a formula to solve the equation – stop. No such formula exists. But doing something much more meaningful CAN have an impact on achieving work-life balance: Establishing a workplace culture in which balance is possible… a culture that recognizes, validates, and supports employees. A Culture of Caring.
How in the world can a company president – who has to show profits – create such a thing? It requires a shift in thinking, for sure, but one that The Network Support Company has found pays immeasurable dividends.
Here, management fosters a Culture of Caring by:
Recognizing that there are days when the pressures in an employee’s personal life trump their ability to strike a balance at work, and vice versa.
Validating that work is an important part of life, but it is not more important than what’s happening at home.
Empowering employees by establishing a support system rooted in trust and respect, giving them the flexibility to leave the office to take care of whatever is out of balance at home, and/or a platform for an open and honest dialogue to bring things back into balance at work.
Understanding that, very occasionally, work may have to take a back seat, and recognizing that those temporary losses in productivity will ultimately be replaced with loyalty, mutual respect, and engagement.
A Culture of Caring is something to which we are totally committed, and we’ll be exploring more of in future blogs.
By the way, the Galileo kid – total brat! Turns out he made up the story about Isaac, Jr. just to get Isaac in trouble. Now he’s suspended. Balance restored.