Work-life balance is something we all strive for, however can be challenging to attain. There is so much to do and so little time! There are many factors that influence our ability to feel whole in our busy lives, one of which is organizational culture. Why is it that within the same company some people have a tougher time than others in finding that balance-point where they feel productive at work yet present for their family?
We often think that the most important criterion for a culture initiative is executive commitment. Deeper research reveals that this is not so when it comes to work-life balance. A 2012 study conducted at Mutua Insurance in Spain, sheds light on drivers and barriers to work-life balance. There is a distinct interplay between driving specific organizational retention and productivity goals via work-life policies, and what quality and satisfaction individuals experience at a daily level.
The research found that though organizational culture is critical, what is even more key is “immediate subculture, …boundary management and coping strategies.” Supervisor and colleague support were also potent drivers of work-life balance.
(Stepanova, Olena. Work-Life Balance in Organizational Subcultures: The Case of Mutua. 2012)
When push comes to shove, the levers are grounded more at a supervisor-team behavior level, plus at an individual coping level. For example, no matter how great a company’s work-life policies are, if an employee’s supervisor does not support them at a team and daily project level, this adversely affects perceived work-life balance. Likewise, if colleagues make unsupportive comments like, “Jane is taking a lot of time off for her kids lately,” this deters a person from taking that much-needed time, so feelings of resentment start to build, and again culture is negatively impacted.
There is an opportunity to build deeper support for living in a more integrated way through teaching individuals what self-care means in modern life, and helping them navigate realities at work. There is also opportunity to teach supervisors how self-care drives team performance, and what they can do to enrich the team culture they create, whilst avoiding pitfalls.
Next Windhorse Events: Mark your calendar!
September 25, 9.30 am-4.00pm: Getting More Out of Work-Life Balance Salon
Hear about the latest trends and research that cut to the core of work-life policies, assess where you are, focus on the high leverage areas that will make the most difference. Dig into the data with colleagues, take away actions you can implement both at work and home. Speakers include a talent management expert, corporate wellness executive, and an integrated living-stress researcher.
This one day salon is targeted to HR and wellness professionals, business leaders, women’s professional groups, coaches who want to insert coping strategies into linear performance plans, and individuals seeking to reach more balance in their everyday. The conversation is about making what is good for work good for home, and vice versa.
Get It While It’s Still Hot: Swim-Activity-Vitality Coaching Session with Cheryl Ridall
Activity = Body & Mind in Flow for Best Solutions
Part of the solution to a challenge often arrives when you move your body in ways you love, as well as embracing new challenges, whether it's being coached in the swimming pool, riding a horse, or taking a brisk walk. Cheryl is an avid swimmer, horsewoman and lover of nature! So get out of your cubicle and you will think outside the box.
E-Mail Cheryl at firstname.lastname@example.org to get a session, burn some energy, and boost your day!
October 4, 10am-3.00pm, Navigating Life Retreat With Janel Joseph
One of the most precious objects to me is a compass from my father. This is an obvious symbol for life. When I was growing up we used it to find our way through the mountains when we hiked. We hiked in the Gore Range near Kremmling Colorado.
It was important to my father that I live a healthy life. I know this because he was a smoker and promised me a sewing machine for my twelfth birthday and a VW bug for my sixteenth birthday if I did not smoke. My father died of cancer when I was eleven.
What I learned from my father:
The goal of the navigating life course is to help you live a healthy lifestyle, be passionate about your work, and have more fun.
We will start with understanding ourselves through a lifestyle questionnaire, a personality assessment and an exercise on our highest hopes. Throughout the day we will learn from people who have pursued a healthy lifestyle, are living passionately and enjoying life to the fullest.
Our greatest hope is that you leave inspired to start or continue a path that leads to a healthy passionate life defined by you.
Sheila Armitage helps individuals and organizations adopt everyday resilience practices that boost work, home, and health.