Die-hard employees who spend some part of every day doing work—whether in the office or from home via a Blackberry—might sneer at the notion of work-life management, but getting one’s life in order can actually benefit the work side of the balance.
“There’s a ton of data out there from places like the Great Place to Work Institute and organizations like that that proves paying attention to one’s own personal life and having that integration well-managed returns more to the bottom line,” said John Anderson, principal, The Glowan Consulting Group. “I read a recent article, and I can’t quote the source right now, but I remember the number, they said that companies that pay attention to this and practice this sort of work-life integration return 57 percent more to their shareholders than publicly traded companies that don’t pay attention to it. That’s a huge number.”
The Glowan Consulting Group recently introduced a process for work-life management as part of its overall leadership model that integrates non-work life into work life. “It’s different from work-life balance where people think it’s 50/50 like you’re balancing something. In the 24x7x365 global world we live in today, people don’t balance anything,” Anderson said. “They integrate various facets, and they’re sort of multitasking all the time. We have people identify the various aspects of their lives and, through a series of assessments, determine what are the most important things to them. Then we put an action plan in place to do things that will guarantee fulfillment in certain areas of their lives.”
The assessment phase identifies values such as integrity, authenticity and balance, and how you operate within the context of values so that when you show up at work in the morning, you’re present and prepared, Anderson said. “You’re ready to be at work as opposed to being distracted by the millions of other things that seem to be vying for your attention. You have action plans to execute and accountability partners and coaches and all that stuff until you change the way you view life, as opposed to ‘everything is a tradeoff, and I don’t have enough time for anything.’ It’s making as much time as we reasonably can for those things that are most important to us.
“It’s just getting people to take care of themselves so that when they come to work in a culture that doesn’t necessarily support (work-life management), they’re better prepared than the people who sit around and complain about the culture not supporting that. By taking care of life management, you’re going to increase productivity. When we’re delivering in a corporate setting as opposed to working with a select individual or two, we say, ‘Let’s get some metrics down, see where we are today and tie this work to business initiatives and/or financials to see that by making this investment in people over time, you can return more to your bottom line.”
Anderson uses a tool called You Inc. to delve into the facets of a worker’s life, such as financial, social, physical health, emotional health, family, work, etc., which are essentially the departments of You Inc. Within each department, participants do self-assessments to determine what they value most and what is the life satisfaction level in relation to those, to get a profile that may say, “I’m not very aligned in my own life,” hence, “I may not be as productive and happy at work as I could be.”
“In You Inc., the first thing to remember is who you report to. You report to you,” Anderson said. “If you want to be available for your family and you want to be available for your employer, then you have to manage You Inc. a heck of a lot more effectively than you are today. When you start practicing disciplined behavior, making time for those things that you truly value, your work product improves.”
The Glowan work-life management process has multiple components beyond initial 360-degree assessments with the participant and his or her direct manager and direct reports. Some of these include workshops, goal setting, an integrated learning plan, coaching and self-directed learning. “The most important thing that we see when we work with individuals is how much more empowered they are to gain satisfaction from their lives,” Anderson said. “People who have struggled with things their whole career—the snap snarl when they get home because they’re not home enough, the why are you always on that laptop, to the manager who says ‘You’ve got to do more with less’—that gets solved to a larger degree than in any other methodology I’ve seen. People have a better, happier life, make more money and have more fun.”