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Mastering Work-Life Balance in Small Businesses

CoAdvantage- Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, people weren’t exactly maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Gallup had reported that American workers spend an average of 47 hours per week on work. Now they spend more time than ever: since the pandemic struck and led to many employees working from home, the average workday has extended by an average of 48 minutes daily, or 4 hours each week, according to a massive study of 3.1 million people by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

How can small business owners and their employees maintain a healthy work-life balance when current circumstances demand so much time from them. Here are some best practices to consider.

“Juggle” life and work rather than “balancing” them.

Change how you think about the work-life balance. Instead of aiming for a constant 50/50 split, recognize that time and energy devoted to personal life or work might fluctuate over time. So, for a few days, weeks, or even months, work might require more time and energy; but if so, that period of time needs to be followed by a period of greater attention paid to personal needs.  Remember too that work and life feed into each other. Success at work allows you to be fully present to enjoy your personal activities, while adequate leisure and relaxation time will fuel your energy to perform better in the office.

Delegate and outsource.

Don’t micro-manage employees. Not only can micro-management damage employee relations, it means owners end up spending unnecessary time and energy on other people’s jobs in addition to their own, jeopardizing their work-life balance. Instead, focus on hiring the best people you can, and then let them do their jobs. If you have concerns about finding and retaining trustworthy, capable staff, or need other help with employee-related issues, talk to us. Your people represent an investment that should pay dividends not just in profits but in time.

Just say no.

Saying no is one of the most important and effective ways to protect your time, energy, and boundaries. Use business reasons if you feel uncomfortable just flatly refusing a request. Harvard behavioral scientist Sendhil Mullainathan and Princeton economist Eldar Shafir recommend practicing a reason for saying no before you need it. Another strategy is to re-frame the no as an “I don’t” rather than an “I can’t.”

Feed your energy.

Often the greatest limitation facing business owners is not actually time at all; it’s energy. You can’t have a healthy work-life balance if you’re constantly exhausted. Establish healthy habits that include exercise and good nutrition. In fact, Harvard Business Review reports that exercise reduces stress but also, interestingly, increases feelings of self-efficacy, which “although [it] is a matter of self-perception, [has] real impact on reality.” If nothing else, get out of the office or house and go for a short walk.

CoAdvantage, one of the nation’s largest Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), helps small to mid-sized companies with HR administration, benefits, payroll, and compliance. To learn more about CoAdvantage’s ability to create a strategic HR function in your business that drives business growth potential, contact us today.