People worldwide continue to search for the elusive ‘sweet spot’ where their careers do not impinge on life ‘outside the office’, and vice versa.
One could argue that while work-life balance may have been possible once, it has become an increasingly unattainable ideal due, in part, to the technologies that pervade the business world. Organisations have come to rely on devices and digital tools that increase the efficiency of their people by enabling them to perform work wherever, whenever. This is a huge boon for businesses, for reasons that include the ability to meet tight deadlines and respond quickly to client queries, revenue opportunities and work crises, such as website outages, that occur outside of regular office hours.
The downside is that the line between work and life can become blurred – with a laptop or mobile device and a decent internet connection, people can respond to emails on the train trip home, at home, on the weekends… and even during holidays. Throw in cloud storage services, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, and remote access software such as LogMeIn and suddenly, work has become a 24/7 proposition; one’s office indistinguishable from ‘life on the outside’.
With an array of productivity tools at their disposal, small business owners can fall into the trap of taking on too much work and ‘burning the candle at both ends’, instead of delegating tasks that could readily be performed by others. When recovery time is insufficient, however, this can result in declining quality of work as well as increased stress, poorer health and lower morale.
To ensure they continue to bring their A-game, business owners should consider lightening their workload by outsourcing the elements of their operation that don’t provide a sense of jubilation and fulfilment. This isn’t ‘shirking hard work’, it’s about having self-discipline and taking steps necessary to maintain the energy levels and enthusiasm necessary for a business to grow and thrive.
The Australian Government’s job placement program, jobactive, is an opportunity for employers to find the right staff that fit their industry and business. By tapping into a network of jobactive providers from over 1,700 locations across Australia, employers can connect with screened and job-ready candidates and may be eligible to access a wage subsidy of up to $10,000 for employing eligible job seekers through jobactive.
Just as business owners cannot afford to ignore the long-term impacts of over-work on their productivity, they must not overlook the impact of job design on their employees’ performance. For example, an employee’s quality of work will likely decline over time if the business owner sets unrealistic expectations or provides inadequate support and resources for staff to perform their jobs properly.
Further, business owners should consider the personal commitments of their employees. These might include study, volunteering and sports as well as caring for children, family members with disability or illness and elderly parents. Business owners that aren’t making reasonable allowances for employees in these instances, risk low retention as well as the loss of key talent.
According to SafeWork SA, when employers give their workers options to better manage work and life demands, such as non-traditional work patterns or remote work, they not only improve their quality of life, they benefit from employees’ higher morale and commitment to their jobs.
“For employers, the capacity to negotiate flexible work arrangements provides an antidote to loss of skills and experience and the high cost of recruitment and retention in a competitive labour market,” the work health and safety regulator explained.
“Employers who provide flexible work options immediately gain a competitive edge in the labour market by becoming ’employers of choice.”
Ultimately, while the jury is still out on whether work-life balance is possible or a fool’s errand, what’s clear is that when business owners set reasonable standards for both themselves and their employees, all eyes will be on the ball, not the door – and that’s good for business.
Sunland Caravans found the right person for their family business with jobactive.
Roy Wyss is the Managing Director of Sunland Caravans. When it comes to hiring staff, he believes the right attitude is far more important than a skill set. See how his jobactive provider has helped him to find the right staff to fit his business