Time and time again, the hours in the day can prove to be elusive. Many of us may find ourselves asking, where did the time go? when we look up from our desk and suddenly see that the sky has darkened.
What’s interesting about this is, a lot of employees are now much more aware of how and where they spend their time. After years of a pandemic and lockdown, the value of our time and its finiteness has become a reality for many, and the importance of finding a work-life balance has increased tenfold. A recent Glassdoor survey proves this, as it found that 87% of employees expect their employers to support them in balancing work and personal needs.
But the biggest obstacle in the way of achieving this balance is the fact that there seems to be a complete lack of language around how to approach the topic of time. It’s a tentative subject, and for some reason it feels almost wrong to ask for certain considerations to be made for one’s personal life.
But why is that? There’s an undeniable awkwardness that permeates the subject, potentially even a feeling of guilt around asking for a better balance.
What’s interesting, however, is the fact that while employees may struggle to find the best words to start the conversation, the emergence of quiet quitting is an example of staff skipping the conversation altogether and taking immediate action. It’s no surprise that quiet quitting is a trend that has been noted far more amongst younger workers; they have entered the world of work as it’s going through monumental structural changes, and so from their perspective, setting boundaries around their work and their personal life is a normal expectation. Whereas for the rest of us who have been working for over a decade, all we have really known is this ‘always-on’ mindset being a requirement of a dependable team player. And a dependable team player regularly and willingly sacrifices personal needs.
Employers could therefore greatly benefit from taking responsibility for kickstarting this conversation with their teams. Learning to talk about time and to have an appreciation for their staff’s commitment to their business will demonstrate how much they value them.
And from a business perspective, starting this discussion around boundaries will help to mitigate the risk of burnout and exhaustion. According to a YouGov survey, 73% of Britons aged between 18-49 said that their tiredness had a great impact on their work. This is coupled with research from the Society for Human Resources Management which found that almost half (48%) of American employees reported being mentally and physically exhausted at the end of their workday.
Creating the space where team members feel safe talking about their personal needs can be key to the prevention of this exhaustion. This ensures that team members are remaining fully engaged and energized both physically and mentally, as well as being a deposit into the “sense of belonging” employee bank account.
Copyright OrgShakers: The global HR consultancy for workplace transformation founded by David Fairhurst in 2020