Running a business can be difficult, time-consuming, tiring, and a never-ending balancing act. On the other hand, it should also be rewarding, enjoyable, challenging and fun. Finding the proper balance is essential as a business owner. Since every business is unique, what works for you may not work for others. However, there are basic ways to help create a healthy balance for yourself and your staff.
My vision for my company was to help my employees achieve work-life balance through flexibility with the workflow schedule and a focus on the importance of personal lives, whether they involve children, pets, hobbies, caring for elderly parents or other personal commitments that are important. That doesn’t mean the service suffers, it means that we’re not all stressed out and worrying about job security when our pet is ill, our family members need help, or a child becomes ill and daycare falls through.
Here are three of the ways we strive to create a healthy work-life balance at MYOB:
#1 Incorporating Flex Schedules
For some individuals, balancing work and personal life might be especially challenging. To assist, we provide flexible work schedules, which boosts productivity, efficiency, and overall employee satisfaction. In most cases, flexible work schedules benefit both the business and the staff.
Flex schedules include split shifts throughout the day or sliding shifts which may start at different times or days. Employees and/or contractors with flexible work schedules have the choice of completing tasks when they are most productive, which may be outside of conventional working hours. Since COVID-19, all staff are now working remotely, which means they can work from home or may use flex space at Innovation Works – as long as they keep in touch. This works through effective communication. For example, we communicate via our Trello workboards online, email, and one-to-one conversations via phone or zoom. Communication within our team has always been important, but remote working has made it critically important.
#2 Cross-training our Staff
I have long believed that cross-training should be viewed as a disaster recovery strategy for a business owner. As I mentioned above, things happen – a contractor goes on vacation, an employee goes on maternity leave, someone has a family emergency, etc. Rather than panic, we have at least one other person trained in at least one area within each facet of our business. With back-up staff for each function on hand at all times, it’s easy to ask someone else to jump in to handle the work when another person is unavailable and not have to worry about spur-of-the-moment training. This is a definite win-win for all involved – the business owner, the staff members, and most importantly, the clients.
#3 Creating and Respecting Boundaries
When employees need to book time off for any reason – mental health, physical health, vacation or otherwise – I believe it is important to respect their time off by not contacting them when they are not working. Respecting this boundary allows employees to fully focus on themselves or loved ones so that when they return, they are ready to be fully invested in their work.
Another way to support staff is by offering an open-door policy for employees to come to you with concerns – especially surrounding health – without judgement. When employees feel comfortable and supported speaking up about any appointments they need to book time off for, or mental and physical health needs, they will experience less stress. Less stress is both important for an employee’s work-life balance and it also contributes to talent retention for your business.
Finally, celebrate and check in with your staff. At MYOB we celebrate our staff’s milestones. For example, a maternity leave is a time for joy for a new parent and is not treated as an inconvenience to the business. When staff are ill, we show we care by checking in with them. We do not do this to find out when they’ll be returning, but because we care about how they are doing. Be genuine in your care for your employees and they will return that care for you and your business.
What does work-life balance mean to you?
We believe that developing a work-life balance has helped us focus on and improve our own health and well-being, in addition to increasing our overall productivity. All staff are encouraged to be mindful of their own health to avoid becoming overly stressed and to prevent burnout. For example, I understand that scheduling a day off for self-care might be needed from time to time.
As a small business owner, you may be so focused on your business that you’re not aware of the stress around you with your staff or how your own stress is affecting your family relationships and personal life. If this sounds like you and you’re seeking more balance in your life by delegating and outsourcing, then we have a suggestion for you. Outsourcing will lighten your load. We bring our team with skill and experience in the areas of bookkeeping, social media management and website design to your business so we can help you mind your own business better! Call or visit us online – we’re here to help!