Work life balance has always been a personal struggle for me.  Before I started my own business, I worked out a deal with my previous company.  I was a salaried employee, but often worked well over 50 hours a week.  They agreed to pay me overtime pay for more than 50 hours a week.  This created a Catch-22 for me.  I had a family to support, and the extra money helped, but every moment I was at work was a moment I wasn’t enjoying my boys.  However, that flexibility also allowed me to leave early for their baseball games or doctor’s appointments or daycare events.

Covid created a whole new work world for us.  Many companies have allowed their employees to continue to work remotely.  Fresh college graduates see this as appealing and expected-and why shouldn’t they when they can now get their whole degree online?  There are so many struggles for employees and employers when it comes to this new remote culture.  At Texas Quality Assurance, we utilize a hybrid method.

Both the employer and employee can not take a one-sided opinion when it comes to this matter.  Things can never be just one way-it will fail.  I believe in a 95%/5% balance.  This means while my employees are on the proverbial clock (95%), I understand they will need to spend some time taking care of home, personal, or family matters (5%).  I embrace this and tend to be generous and understanding, without being taken advantage of.  But there’s a flip side to that.  When my employees are at home and off the proverbial clock spending time with their families (95%), there will be time when emails need sent, projects have a deadline, or emergencies come up and I expect those to be handled (5%).  Just as I am generous and understanding of the employees taking 5% on the clock, I expect my employees to be generous and understanding in giving 5% off the clock.

We work to support the life we want to live.  We can’t live our life without working.  I know stressed out employees working 60+ hours a week are not effective.  This creates a negative work environment, with the employee being angry he/she is working so much and the family being angry.  Again, on the flip side, an employee that takes too much time for home, family and personal issues creates an unfocused employee that is more prone to making mistakes, creating a need to constantly put out fires, working oddball hours and being pulled in too many directions.  This also creates a negative work environment with the employee stressed out, feeling behind, and that he/she just can’t get caught up.  Problems occur when the employee is out of balance either way.

When thinking about this work/life balance, I think about the seesaw on a kids’ playground.  You must have two kids on the seesaw.  They don’t have to weigh the same, but they do both have to be there.  As the kids trade off, going up and down, they are both having fun.  However, if one kid jumps off and the seesaw becomes out of balance, well, we all remember how that felt.

A 95%/5% balance works well-whether your employees are remote or in office.  As far as who gets to work remote-again, it can’t be strictly one way or the other.  A good manager/employer knows his employees and their capabilities and will put each person where they will succeed most.

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