Ten Things We Do to Create a Sustainable Work Life Balance
Kristin Jonason and I recently had 9 hours of “windshield time” driving to/from Norway, Iowa, to meet with a new client. One of the topics we were batting around as we drove down the “Avenue of the Saints” (the route from St. Paul, Minnesota, to St. Louis, Missouri), was sustainable work-life balance.
Kristin just completed her Masters in Positive Psychology at the University of Pennsylvania, so the topic is particularly near and dear.
As we come out of the pandemic, and work to build a very special culture within Team Prouty, here are ten things we do—or intend to do—to sustain work-life balance:
1. Have a weekly bootcamp at Higher Power Training.
4 p.m. on Wednesdays, for all who can participate. I try to get 3-4 workouts in every week and encourage everyone on our team to do so. We also welcome and encourage our team to “walk” during our virtual team check-ins when screen time is not required.
2. Start every team meeting with a gratitude exercise.
The power of “saying thanks”, “I appreciate”, is cumulative and will bring smiles of joy to the team. We did something like this with a client who commented, “I’ve been with this company for 15 years, and we’ve never done anything like this. Very meaningful, thank you.”
3. Breathe deep.
Kristin encourages us to remember “4 seconds of inhale, 7 seconds of holding your breath, 8 seconds of exhale.” A simple tool to slow down your mind and body, be reflective, and keep things in perspective.
4. Leverage music, humor, and movement.
These three concepts help stimulate creative thinking, and we wire them into everything we do. If your business is about generating ideas, give it a shot. The client in Iowa loved Kristin’s “Have a Good Day” Spotify playlist.
5. Be clear on expectations.
We emphasize the importance of “wowing” our clients. Sometimes that will require a 40-hour week, sometimes that will require a 60-hour week. The typical FORTUNE 500 executive works 53 hours a week, so we’ve worked hard to be “incredibly responsive” to their needs.
6. Monitor the fulfillment index.
In each of our quarterly one-on-ones, I ask about each person’s “fulfillment index”. Is your work fulfilling, energizing? Are you having fun? What can I/we do to help bring the fulfillment index up a point or two? Always good and important discussions.
7. Leverage your strengths.
Kristin utilized a tool in her Penn program (Via Character Strengths) that assesses your strengths and skillsets. Playing to your strengths makes work more energizing, easy, and fun. Are you doing work that is leveraging your strengths?
8. Get your 56 hours of sleep.
We all have 168 hours per week to play with. If you knock out 56 hours of sleep each week (8 hours per night), you have 112 hours left to lead a beautiful life with family, friends, and business cohorts.
9. Maintain workplace flexibility.
Although we love seeing our clients and colleagues in the office “in person” more frequently, we continue to maintain our flexible “work from anywhere” policy when possible. We know that spending more time with family and pets and less time commuting is important to our team members.
10. Remember the Dalai Lama.
I keep a quote from the Dalai Lama on the wall, directly above the flipchart where I monitor my workouts: “Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present. The result being that he does not live in the present or the future. He lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”
What else? What are you going to do in your organization, post-pandemic, to keep the sustainable work-life balance in focus? What are your new insights, new surprises, during the pandemic? Let us know, as we’d like to keep improving and we’d like to share your ideas with other clients and friends.
Have a wonderful November, and a reflective Thanksgiving, Jeff.