How to Help Teams Create More Balance at Work

How to Help Teams Create More Balance at Work
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Team leaders are charged with managing and fully engaging their teams so that they are delivering outcomes that make sense to the business AND to the people. The balance of a team’s productivity and engagement – especially under pressure – is not easy.  Are you a boss who demands that your team be “on” all the time or are you a boss who encourages work-life balance? Can you help teams create more balance at work?

Your answer matters because overwork, besides being unhealthy, does not actually produce better results for you or your team.

Why Create More Balance for Your Teams at Work
According to Mental Health America, the nation’s leading community-based nonprofit dedicated to promoting overall mental health, more than one in four Americans describe themselves as “super stressed.” And when people are stressed because they are under too much pressure, their productivity plummets.

To stay both healthy and productive, people and teams need to achieve the right balance. Both employees and businesses benefit when their workers are more engaged, more productive, healthier, and less likely to leave their jobs. What can a team leader do to help their team create more balance at work?

How to Help Teams Create More Balance at Work
Based upon data from employee engagement action plans, here are some tips on how to help your team reach a better work-life balance:

  1. Make It Easy for People to Share Their Concerns
    It can be easy for people to get so caught up in work that they neglect the other important aspects of their life – family, friends, healthy habits, recreation. Make sure that your team understands that you value hard work but not at the expense of their well-being. It’s up to you to pay attention and to dial back the pressure accordingly.

    Sure, there will be occasions when deadlines demand that everyone put in extra time and effort. But you don’t want too much work to become the norm at the individual or team level. Because you care about your team, give them permission to re-evaluate how they spend their time.

    This includes not reinforcing (by using rewards, recognition, or stories) a “hero mentality” over a “balanced mentality.” The opportunities for promotion and growth should not depend on how much time one spends on work but the quality of deliverables.

    Do you make it easy for your people to balance their workloads?
  2. Model the Behavior
    Leaders must consistently do what they expect their followers to do.   To help teams create more balance at work, leaders must set the example by leaving at a reasonable hour, not sending late night emails, saying no more often, and resetting expectations when appropriate.

    Do your highest performing leaders and managers model a healthy work-life balance?
  3. Analyze and Re-Prioritize
    To get a sense of where things stand, have each team member keep track for a few days of the tasks that routinely consume their time. Then have them think through their job goals – what matters most. Finally ask them to connect the goal results to the tasks that most directly contributed to the desired outcome.

    Help them identify the 20% of tasks that drive the majority of the desired outcomes. Then help them find tangible and meaningful ways to re-prioritize how they spend their time.

    Do your teams know how they spend their time?
  4. Commit to Balance as a Team Goal
    As part of your desire to increase employee engagement, make more balance at work an explicit team goal.  Establish a healthy work culture where the quality of work is valued over the quantity of work and where your team’s well-being is understood to be a key to success.

    Are your leaders and managers allowing the personal and professional time for people to perform at their peak?

The Bottom Line
Team leaders have enormous influence over their team. Are your leaders and managers helping their teams balance team health and team performance?

To learn more about how to help teams create more balance at work, download 6 Ways to Foster Better Project Team Collaboration

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