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24 September 2019

The everyday balancing act

The miracle of the internet and its associated functionality were supposedly meant to enhance human life and free up more time. 

For many though – especially in small to medium enterprises (SMEs) – the line between work and home life has blurred, with the ability for colleagues and clients alike to make contact and change the focus from downtime to overtime.

“But there are simple things that business owners and teams can do for themselves” says Crombie Lockwood Executive Marketing and Communication, Debbie Lowe.

“You have to have discipline and create this for yourself. For me that is around ‘protecting’ the mornings and the evenings with my children and the weekends too. But also creating flexibility in my working life I can perform all the roles I have in any given day.”

To make sure you and your staff are able to maintain a healthy work/life balance, as well as manage risk, learning how to be a better driver of technology is crucial.  

Arranged scrabble tiles show words work, family, life and career

It’s important that a business owner demonstrates an ongoing commitment to employee work/life balance as an example to staff working with them.

Set strong boundaries

The business owner should set good, strong boundaries for themselves and their team, creating a healthy, positive and inclusive business culture and environment. These boundaries can be as simple as:

  • Deciding to leave the office at a reasonable hour each day
  • Not responding to emails after a certain time of day
  • Switching off the phone during meetings or personal time
  • Not feeling pressured to come into the office at weekends or on public holidays.

It’s important that a business owner demonstrates an ongoing commitment to employee work/life balance as an example to staff working with them.  For someone with plenty on the go at work, this is a constant aspect of Debbie’s professional life she is careful to manage come weekends.

“I run two phones and it actually works really well for me,” she says. “

This means I can put the work phone away at weekends and only choose to look at it if I want or there is something going on which I need to keep an eye on. It easier to keep those boundaries defined away from the office.

Be flexible

Where possible allowing members of the business the ability to work from home or to have flexible start times – especially for those who have children or other dependent relatives or are engaged in ongoing training or tertiary study – will be a long-term benefit.

Of course, if a team member starts earlier or later in the day, they shouldn’t be expected to work longer than their contracted hours. It is good practice for business owners to ensure there is more than adequate manpower covering the hours of business operation. 

Communicate openly

The size of the business operation is irrelevant when it comes to providing clear channels of communication. To maintain a healthy, happy and inclusive business culture and environment, business owners should facilitate communicating openly and honestly with colleagues.

Being receptive to feedback, both positive and negative, and to use such information in a constructive and productive way, can also create a more open atmosphere.

Avoiding having people working in silos and making sure that everyone in the business is clearly across daily operations and activities of the company goes a long way towards creating a communicative and creative working environment.

What’s more, recent research has revealed that encouraging a healthy and happy work culture can add as much as eight percent to a company’s bottom line.

Creating wellbeing and mindfulness

Maintaining both good physical and mental health is key to running a successful business.

For Debbie exercise – running in particular – is also incredibly important to her in terms of managing and releasing stress.

Being mindful of the needs of one’s self is imperative for business owners, as well as being mindful of the needs of the team around them.

Ensuring that team members get the requisite amount of rest and relaxation, including regular holidays, as well as emotional or physical support is a huge part of creating a good work/life balance for everyone within the business.

Switch off the devices

This is one of the simplest, yet hardest things for many business people to accomplish.

Creating wellbeing and mindfulness, as well as creating good boundaries for a work/life balance won’t happen if people within the organisation, including those at the top, are tied to their smartphone at all hours of the day.

Turning off the phone, tablet or PC sounds simple, yet can actually be difficult for many leaders and staff members, even at weekends.

Having two phones is one tactic Debbie employs but there’s a strong internal culture around ‘powering down’ on the weekends which removes pressure. “I have to say that it’s not our culture at Crombie Lockwood to be emailing over the weekend. If people do email me, I can make a judgement call on whether it requires a response or not,” she says.

Mobile phone being switched off

Switching off the phone is one of the simplest, yet hardest things for many business people to accomplish.

Plan for the unexpected; seek professional advice

Developing plans and strategies for any unexpected future events, and managing risk within the business, is critical to anyone leading a business.

Fortunately, professional insurance brokers such as Crombie Lockwood are able to help. It’s important to have the right coverage locked in place to ensure that both personal and business assets are adequately safeguarded in the unlikely case of a death, disability, or the protracted illness of personnel.

This also includes having insurance policies that protect the business from the loss of key employees, protect fellow shareholder capital, as well as ensuring the protection of the business against debts and allowing the release of personal guarantees.

Crombie Lockwood brokers work with business owners around the country to ensure they have a cost-effective tailored insurance package that meets their business needs. Naturally, this in turn allows business owners to focus on creating and maintaining that all important work/life balance.

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