Owning your own small business contributes to the feeling that the time you're at home or away on vacation might be better spent developing your business. Creating a balance between work and life involves a conscious effort to create boundaries between the two. Successful businesses also encourage employees to carve out time away from work for relaxation. This includes allowing staff vacation leave and encouraging innovative relaxation in the workplace.
Defining Work-Life Balance
The definition of work-life balance differs with the age of the worker. For senior workers or owners nearing retirement, the balance often includes regular vacation time and weekends away from the job. While younger staff members enjoy vacation time, the group also defines the work-life balance as the ability to establish individualized work hours, including evening hours and work-from-home options, and personalized work conditions, featuring personal desk and office area decorations.
Small business owners have the ability to establish boundaries for themselves and for staff members. This encourages employees to develop a balance between work hours and personal life. Setting down company rules incorporating regulations restricting the number of hours spent at work each week help employees create these boundaries and keep them. As the leader of the company, you need to model the sound work-life balance you encourage your staff to define. The Mayo Clinic recommends setting formal rules for yourself, including limiting the number of hours you spend at the business. Avoid taking work home to compensate for the time away from the office to keep the balance clearly defined.
Balanced Work Environment
Creating an environment at your small business to encourage you and your staff to develop the appropriate work-life balance means allowing your employees to participate in some family activities and meet personal responsibilities that take time away from work. This flexibility includes time off to see children in school plays, visit classes during parent days and accompany aging family members on medical appointments. Establishing firm work policies for this life balance also requires rules to prevent your staff from taking advantage of the policies to avoid job duties.
Scheduling and Planning
Creating a work-life balance involves scheduling times for relaxation. Effective scheduling ensures that you and your staff take the relaxation breaks by using a formal planning system for time away from work. Listing earned relaxation time on paychecks keeps formal records and encourages use of the time. If you don't provide paid release time or vacations, consider adding this option to reward employees meeting corporate standards or producing high-quality work over a set period of time. Encouraging your staff to plan periodic events also sets aside time for short periods of relaxation during the workday, even if it's only time to sit in lawn chairs and appreciate the outdoors or an extra 15 minutes added to a lunch break.
- Mayo Clinic: Work-Life Balance - Tips to Reclaim Control
- NPR: When Employers Make Room For Work-Life Balance
- Forbes.com: Basic Steps Toward Work-Life Balance
- American Institute of CPAs: Work-Life Balance
- Executive Office of the President Council of Economic Advisers: Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility
- Psychology Today: Setting Boundaries at Work - Steps to Making Them a Reality
- MayoClinic.com: Work-Life Balance - Tips to Reclaim Control
- CNN Money: Best Benefits - Perkfinder
Lee Grayson has worked as a freelance writer since 2000. Her articles have appeared in publications for Oxford and Harvard University presses and research publishers, including Facts On File and ABC-CLIO. Grayson holds certificates from the University of California campuses at Irvine and San Diego.