Let’s talk about work-life balance
by Lisa Seppala, True North Implementation
We need work-life balance to contribute fully at work, in our personal lives, and in society.
The National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health & Safety in the Workplace articulates well what it means to have balance in a work environment.
An organization with good balance would be able to state that
- The organization encourages workers to take their entitled breaks (e.g., lunchtime, sick time, vacation time, earned days off, parental leave);
- Workers are able to reasonably meet the demands of personal life and work;
- The organization promotes life-work harmony;
- Workers can talk to their supervisors when they are having trouble maintaining harmony between their life and work; and
- Workers have energy left at the end of most workdays for their personal life.
That said, it’s not just the employer’s responsibility to create a climate that supports work-life balance but also the employee’s responsibility to embrace it.
I’ve worked for employers that encouraged work-life balance for most of my career. Still, during the first two decades of my career, that did little to offset my high achiever, workaholic tendencies. I worked long hours, weekends, and evenings to stay on top of everything. The more I succeeded, the more I took on, and I certainly was rewarded when I produced.
It wasn’t until I made work-life balance a priority and set boundaries and standards for myself that I was able to reclaim life and contribution outside of work.
Over the last couple of years, I’ve focused on the inputs that are crucial for me to create, transform, commit, and work with energy and joy. The inputs are simple – a healthy lifestyle, activities that replenish me, an aesthetically appealing physical environment, and the time and space to do things well. Without these, my ability to generate the outcomes I seek falls short.
I’m not the type of person to dwell on regrets, but if I could say one thing to my younger self, it would be “make balance a priority and watch wonderful things unfold in all areas of your life as a result”.