By Meaghan B.
In December of 2020, I spent time reviewing the corporate employee satisfaction survey, in order to determine which aspects of their career at ActioNet employees most value; the options varied from financial considerations, to career advancement opportunities as well as opportunities to engage in challenging and meaningful work. Of all options, employees were asked to pick their top three choices of what matters most to them.
After reviewing these results, I can report that 72% of ActioNet employees selected Work / Life Balance as a “top three” choice for the most important factor that they value from an employer – a pretty significant finding. By comparison, the second most important factor to employees, Benefits, was selected by 55% of employees. The Executive Leadership team has discussed these results, and has come to many conclusions, including some which have relevance given the COVID-19 pandemic. While Work/Life Balance has presumably always been important to employees, it has become even more important now as our work and personal life are increasingly blurred with working from home.
So, as the one-year anniversary approaches for the start of this pandemic and the changes it has brought to our lives, ActioNet leadership wants to offer five minor tips for supporting each other’s work/life balance more effectively. The intention of these suggestions is to offer advice on how we can all make minor changes in our behaviors that will improve the collective work-life balance.
A year after we all began working from home we reflect on how we can better create a work / life balance
Please note there is an abundance of helpful information on how to improve work/life balance for yourself and your family on the internet, and I highly encourage everyone to do independent research on this important topic.
Why This Helps with Collective Work / Life Balance
Set Realistic Expectations. Ensure that your manager and those you work closely with understand what times are not feasible for you to be online/working.
Doing so enables you to better plan the balance between work and personal life demands which people can try to work around.
Give a Heads Up for Video Calls. When scheduling remote meetings, indicate in the subject line or message body whether videos will be on/encouraged, optional, or voice-only.
It is a courtesy to let attendees know whether they need to plan to be presentable for the camera and in a conducive location.
Schedule Breaks. Build in 5, 10, 15-minute windows between scheduled meetings.
Those extra 5-15 minutes between meetings allow for quick breaks to refill coffee, water, a quick check-in with others at home, or a restroom break – things that can be hard to squeeze in between back-to-back meetings. Also, when looking at your calendar for the day, it’s nice to know those breaks have been pre-built in.
Keep an Eye on the Clock. Consider what times you are sending e-mails and communicate accordingly.
If you are sending e-mails at off-hours, you may be unintentionally pressuring others to read and/or respond to them (even if you have no expectations that people do so!). If you need to send communications during odd hours, ensure that those who receive them understand if any action is required, or if it’s for awareness only. You can also use Outlook to delay sending of e-mails to occur at the start of office hours.
Provide on Out of Office Notice: Turn on your out of office, with a suitable backup(s) indicated, even if you will only be unreachable for short periods of time.
By providing a backup, it relieves stress in others, that are trying to reach you or obtain an answer for something. Instead of progress being hindered until you come back online, the team cadence can continue, and you avoid single points of failure.
The Tips above are not hard-and-fast rules, just minor things, that I think would make our lives just a little bit easier, while we continue to work remote.
Lastly, for those in a managerial role, I want to take a moment to emphasize one fact: as managers, we are responsible for setting the tone for our teams, and our actions are vital in successfully promoting work/life balance.
I welcome any additional thoughts or suggestions for future articles.
The 2021 ActioNet Team Video is a prime example of the exceptional workplace culture!