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It’s no secret that millennials are reshaping the workforce as we know it. They want to continue learning and evolving with as little risk of monotony as possible. They also want a life. Unlike generations before them, millennials nearly demand a healthy work/life balance.

But is a work/life balance really what we want to instill in our employees– making work and life two very separate entities? Or is it more about marrying the two to create a work-life harmony? As entrepreneurs ourselves, we’re leaning towards the latter. We’ll explain.

Encourage Holistic Harmonization

To create a great work culture and improve efficiency, company leaders need to begin viewing work and life as synchronous making proactive decisions that help blur the lines of where one ends and the other begins. 

  • Stop thinking 9-5. While this is a typical workday, pigeonholing your employees to this strict timeline doesn’t allow them to manage time that works best for them. What if, for example, someone works best in the morning and needs some time to get their kids to daycare? Allowing an open schedule not only enables them to do that but it also shows that you trust their work ethic. 
  • Hang out with each other. Gone are the days when it’s not appropriate for the boss to be friends with his/her employees. Limiting your communication to work only perpetuates the notion that work is work and life is life. Be friends. Go to dinner. Better yet, schedule a team dinner. Know each other beyond client calls and emails. 
  • Stop micromanaging. Stopping yourself from micromanaging can be difficult, after all, it’s your company. But, it has been shown to hurt employee morale and decrease job satisfaction. Employees who are micromanaged often feel restricted, the opposite of harmonized. Instead, set clear goals and deadlines, letting employees take the reins on their deliverables. 

Practice What You Preach 

Much like everything else, work-life harmony starts at the top of your organizational structure. Employees will follow your lead. If you’re all work and no play, for example, they may fear that working a flexible schedule or taking a few personal days would reflect poorly on them.

Take a look at Jeff Bezos, Executive Chairman of Amazon. He doesn’t set his alarm in the morning and instead of rushing to work, he takes time to eat breakfast with his family. According to a recent article, “He believes that all his staff should stop trying to achieve a ‘balance’ in their work and personal lives as that implies a trade-off. Instead, he envisions a more holistic relationship between the two.”

So, take days off, work a flexible schedule, and take more time to connect with your team. Most importantly, encourage your employees to do the same. 

Stimulate the Virtual Culture

Though the concept of working remotely has been around for a while, it wasn’t until COVID-19 that it started gaining serious traction. At its peak, over half of the workforce in the US was completely virtual. And while it was meant to be temporary, many companies have seen value from virtual work environments and are either offering fully remote options to their employees or a hybrid where employees can choose what works best for them. 

This is a massive leap forward for promoting work-life harmony. In fact, a recent survey found that people who work remotely, just once per month, are 24% more likely to be happy and productive. With that said, it’s even more important for employers (you) to embrace this new culture and engage the remote workers to ensure your team is synchronous, both in life and work. Here are some helpful suggestions:

  • All play and no work. Okay, so maybe a little work is necessary. The fact is it’s easier to find moments of downtime to joke or connect when working in-person. When faced with back-to-back Zoom calls and ongoing Slack messages, however, you’re at risk of eliminating fun moments with the team for virtual workers. So, let loose. If what was supposed to be a budget meeting ends up doubling in time because you were sharing college drinking stories, that’s okay. It helps employees to relax and fosters a friendly/fun atmosphere. 
  • Show off your life. To truly cultivate work-life harmony, you and your team need to be comfortable sharing your lives with each other. That can sometimes be difficult virtually, but it’s not impossible. Post pictures of your pets, show off the fact that you’ve been wearing pajama pants to every meeting, and encourage parents to have their kids attend an internal meeting to see everyone.
  • Have a virtual happy hour. Just because it’s remote doesn’t mean it’s not a possibility. Tell everyone at 4 on a Friday that they should grab a drink of choice and hop on a Zoom call. It’s a great way to unwind after a long week and forces your remote team to wrap up early. 

Stay on Top of Your Game

Bottom line, instilling a work-life harmony into your culture will likely lead to happier, more productive employees that are as invested in your business as you are. But ensuring that your team feels this connection and stops thinking of work as work is going to take effort and proactive measures on your part. And by proactive we mean that you should also take advantage of these practices– letting loose, having fun with employees, not sticking to a 9-5, offering autonomy. After all, leaders aren’t leaders until they have followers. 

Though you’re already on the right track, there is no reason to reinvent the wheel here. Leaning on other entrepreneurs for ideas and support will only help you merge your business from mundane to passionate and fun more quickly (no offense). This is where growth10 comes in.  

growth10 is a platform built by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, where like-minded people form virtual communities (or ‘tribes’ if you will) across all industries and offer advice and feedback for one another. There are weekly workshops, monthly webinars, team calls, business lessons, and active Facebook and LinkedIn groups to actively participate in at your disposal. Whether you’re just starting your business and want to facilitate a work-life harmony or you’re adopting the practice into your already established start-up, growth10 can and will be there every step of the way. 

Access Trusted Advisors

Joe Buzzello & Tom Healy
Author: Joe Buzzello & Tom Healy

Joe Buzzello & Tom Healy are the Co-Founders of growth10 and have a shared mission to help entrepreneurs grow faster and have a greater impact on the world.

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