Work hard – but maintain your life-work balance

At 10Eighty our motto is “work hard, do good and along the way have fun”. We think that if you love what you do it often doesn’t really feel like work, and it is mostly fun. Everyone should aspire to a job they love but we know that’s not how it is for many people. Some find meaning in life through their work, while others view employment as a necessary condition of their existence or as an opportunity to make choices as to lifestyle.

Work-life balance is about the desire of all– not just those with families or caring commitments – to achieve and maintain a ‘balance’ between paid work and life outside work, whatever that involves, from childcare or housework to leisure or self-development. Work and personal life are not easily separated, they overlap and shape each other in many ways. The average Briton spends 100,000 hours at work during their lifetime. As the way we work changes in response to the global economy and technological advances it’s sometimes hard to make time to spend on family and other interests.

Switch off

The same technology that makes work easier can also make it harder to switch off so that work and free time are no longer compartmentalised but intertwined. In a global survey by Accenture 78% of workers said technology allows them be more flexible with their work schedules but 70% claim technology brings work into their personal lives.

Work Hard - 10Eighty 3rd BirthdayA wide body of evidence suggests that work-life balance benefits both employers and employees. While some employers may express misgivings the introduction of flexible working time arrangements seems to be largely beneficial to employers. Women are much more likely to take up flexible working time arrangements than men, even though an increasing number of men find themselves as secondary earner in their household. Take up is also greater in large establishments and the public sector.

Encouraging employees to focus on good work life balance can take an organisation to the next level, increasing productivity, reducing competition when recruiting, improving staff retention, creating a pleasant working environment. Research by the Corporate Executive Board shows that employees who feel they have good work life balance work 21% harder than those who don’t. Staff are more likely to be more engaged, improving the amount and quality of their work; they’re also less likely to take time off due to stress or illness.

Performance not presence

All jobs may be seen as the sum of a flexible set of responsibilities and tasks rather than as fixed. So they can be changed and redesigned to make best use of the knowledge and skills of the job holder. A job being done well, whatever the work pattern of the worker, he or she should be valued for their contribution to delivering organisational objectives, not the hours or days worked. Assess performance on results, not hours spent in the office.

Achieving a healthy life balance is a continuous process – we all need to unwind and feel we are in control of our lives. It doesn’t necessarily mean a reduction in productivity or working different hours, viewed from a lifetime perspective work life balance must take into account the trade-offs made between work and leisure as interests and commitments change during the course of life. One size does not fit all, it’s important to understand what your team need and what motivates them in order to formulate the best solution for your business.

Not many people will say on their deathbed “I wish I had spent more time at the office”. The world won’t fall apart if staff leave on time or work from home; take heed of the DTI suggestion that everyone can find a rhythm to help them combine work with their other responsibilities or aspirations, and work-life balance involves adjusting working patterns in ways which allow people to achieve this rhythm.

Michael is Chief Executive of 10Eighty. 10Eighty is a career and talent management consultancy that helps organizations maximize the contribution of their employees by ensuring satisfying jobs and careers for their employees. Michael is a Human Resources professional, having worked in the National Health Service, Insurance, Commodities and Derivatives industries. He has worked within the career coaching business for fifteen years, both managing a £7 million business and delivering bespoke, one to one career coaching. In the last 15 years Michael has run businesses that have helped 75,000 people make successful career transitions. He is a frequent commentator in the press/media, which includes a range of topics on “successfully managing your career” and talent management. Most recent media mentions have included BBC South, CNBC, Radio4, Financial Times, City AM, Financial News, Evening Standard, The Sunday Times, The Grapevine and HR Magazine, to name but a few. He writes a careers column for People Management, a blog for the Human Resources Magazine and is a regular contributor to The Thompson Reuters HR Portal. Michael is known as a thought provoking speaker in the HR industry. In the last 18 months, Michael spoke at the Careers Partner International Conference, NHS breakthrough conference, NHS North West Leadership Academy, London School of Economics, University of Westminster’s Talent Management Conference, ICAEW Finance Directors Conference, CIPD learning and development conference and CIPD branch seminars. He is also Chair of the CIPD’s Central London Branch. Additionally is a non executive director of Marshall ACM, an e-learning company and the Total Reward Group, a compensation and benefits consultancy. Michael plans to publish his book “The guide to everlasting employability” in the Autumn 2012. He has just launched an iphone app “careers snakes and ladders” and an online interactive version of the book in collaboration with Marshall ACM to coincide the launch of his new business 10Eighty. Michael has a degree in Economics, a MBA from Warwick Business School and is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. He holds an accreditation from the British Psychological Society for the use of psychometrics. Michael has completed the Fairplace Internal Accreditation Programme, the training element of which is externally recognised by the Association for Coaching. Michael Moran was until January 2012 Chief Executive of Fairplace and a main board director of Savile plc, the career and talent management consultancy. Fairplace is part of the Savile Group, an AIM listed plc. The Savile Group was placed 16th in the Sunday Times top 100 small companies in 2010.

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Michael Moran – CEO 10Eighty

A blog about career and talent management, things that might help you with your career and in your job.