REFLECTION: There was a time when creating life balance meant setting better boundaries and shoring up the divide between the workplace and a personal life. Although there are still times where boundary setting is essential, the divide is fuzzy. And, sometimes a sharp divide is not even that desirable.
In the interests of building employee engagement and supporting employees’ lives outside of work, some organizations work very hard to make work as meaningful and as integrated a part of life as possible. They are creating workplace cultures where supportive relationships are nourished, where families are included, where individuals can be themselves (quirks welcome), and where employees are supported in tending to their needs at work and at home.
Here is a sampling of one organization’s strategies for building engagement and supporting balance:
- publishing a company newsletter delivered to homes of employees featuring people news, event updates, and profiling contributions of employees and family members
- hosting work-sponsored events that involve employees’ families (T-shirt design contest, special Family Day BBQ)
- maintaining a Wellness area in the workplace with fitness equipment (for use in exercise room or at desks), BP monitors, and healthy snack options
- recognizing personal milestones and anniversaries (including employee’s start date with the organization)
- encouraging individual decor in workspaces and dress up theme days based on employee interests
- coordinating an emergency fund to help employee families through rough times
ACTION: If you don’t work with an organization that has made this area a priority, there are still things you can do as an individual to bridge the great divide:
- Share news of your work with those at home. Not just the whines and complaints, but the interesting people news, positive challenges and successes.
- Same thing goes the other way. Share news of family and community activities with those in your workplace. It will help them see you in a more complete light.
- Take advantage of wellness services and programming that are offered in your workplace, and encourage others to do the same.
- Bring other bits of yourself to work. See if there are ways to apply your hobbies and interests to the work at hand.
- Pay attention to your colleagues. Listen and watch for needs you might address and ways you might express support.
These investments will go a long ways in helping you and others more fully integrate and balance lives at work and at home.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Fulfilling the four needs [spiritual, mental, physical, social] in an integrated way is like combining elements in chemistry. When we reach a “critical mass” of integration, we experience spontaneous combustion–an explosion of inner synergy that ignites the fire within and gives vision, passion, and a spirit of adventure to life.” – Stephen Covey
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: Read in more detail about Beryl Institute’s approach to balancing and enriching the lives of their employees and their families.
READERS WRITE: In response to last week’s Pause message on ‘Life’s Pinball Challenge’, reader GJ writes: I use the visual of the pinball game in explaining how I felt growing up. I was the ultimate people pleaser and felt like the steel ball being shot out into the pinball game, zinging all over the place, totally out of control, but racking up the points. I answered to almost every person who needed or wanted a piece of me. Hearing the bells ring here, there and everywhere as they called me to help them was the ultimate stressor for me. Eventually, I would disappear into this hole waiting for the next call to help. I’m glad that, through workshops such as yours and the wonderful books out there to read, I’m learning to not tilt into that hole as often!