What does it really mean to have a balanced life? And who’s to say that your life is or isn’t balanced?
There are multiple definitions to what work-life balance really means. One definition of work-life balance is a concept including proper prioritizing between "work" (career and ambition) and "lifestyle" (health, pleasure, leisure, family and spiritual development/meditation).
Sometimes the path to a definition resonates in what to exclude. We can think about what work-life balance is not; it’s not spending equal hours “at work” and “at life,” and it’s not independent of circumstances. That is, what balance means to you today may be different next year, or even tomorrow.
How we define and require balance varies, even day to day. Yes, working virtually allows flexibility in schedules, but flexibility stretches further than that. It’s also the variety of opportunities, the input we have on the work we do (and the subsequent workload), and the balance between get-it-done stuff like building a project plan and create-something-from-nothing stuff such as new processes or products.
Prior to joining Prominence, I was in a role that required me to be on call 24/7/365. It didn’t matter where I was or what I was doing, if that phone rang or pager went off, I was back in the car, off to work. I loved my job and the impact I was having on the community, but at times I felt all I was doing was working.
As noted in the previous blog post, it’s important that you’re passionate about your job, but no one wants their job to control their life. At Prominence, we recognize the value in having a balance between time in the office and time outside of it. Our culture focuses on results. As long as your work is getting done on time and your customers are happy, then you’re able to work where you want and when you want. This provides us with the ability to watch our kid’s volleyball practice on a Thursday afternoon or take our dog to the vet on a Monday morning without having to stress about being out of the office. Setting the appropriate expectations with our employees and our clients from the start gives us the ability to be respectful to both our professional and personal responsibilities. Not only do our remote-based analytics team members get the benefit of flexibility, we also work hard in our deployment contracts to be flexible in how often we travel, saving money for our customers and supporting our team with the opportunity to find stability at home.
2. Employees' needs come first
We take pride in the fact that we have excellent staff with the strong skillsets we demand across our whole business line. Everyone at Prominence has the ability to take on at least two of our three business lines: strategic, analytic, and deployment. As someone who assists with our recruiting efforts, believe me when I say it is hard sometimes to find someone that is versatile enough to take on these multiple roles. The last thing we want to do is to lose an individual just because he or she needs to take care of something in their personal lives.
An example of this can be seen in my good friend Carla who write the previous blog on purpose. She was hired when she was 7.5 months pregnant. During the interview process, she brought up needing time off to spend time with the newest addition to her family. Everyone made it very clear that she could then (as she can now) take the time she needs, as long as she is open and upfront about those needs. Personally, I think this is amazing! In the big picture of recruitment and retention, it makes so much sense, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. She remembers talking to her manager when her daughter was around 4.5 months old about a high-profile deployment need, and while he talked to her about opportunity and discussed why she was such a great fit, he never pressured her into the role since it required additional travel and longer hours.
To have a leadership team that respects the boundaries of our trustworthy and awesome staff, even when that makes their jobs harder, is pretty unusual and speaks to the character of the company that I work for and love!
3. Growth and satisfaction
In his best-selling book Off Balance, Matthew Kelly believes work-life balance is a mistake that everyone wants and not one has. He believes that we don't really want balance but rather personal and professional satisfaction.
At Prominence, I see the indicators and signs of satisfaction in the eyes and words of my co-workers. During our company’s quarterly meetings, I’m able to share what I’m doing as an individual for my clients, as well as the impact I’m able to have on the company. I then get to listen to all the amazing things everyone else is doing both internally and externally as we change the way our customers look at their toughest challenges. These times are something I look forward to and I believe inspire us all as we return to our customers and help them grow their institution as we are able to grow ourselves.
So what does balance mean to YOU?
In our next post, we’ll dig in to what “growth” really means and look more closely at how we grow in our workplace culture.