In recent years, there has been an increasing amount of attention paid to achieving a CEO work-life balance. High profile Chief Executive and CEO level employees across the globe have made headlines by stepping down and citing a lack of work-family balance as contributing factors to their resignations.
Max Schierson, the former CEO of MongoDB, stepped down into a lesser role within the company in 2014. In 2015, Patrick Pichette left his role as Chief Financial Officer at Google to travel and spend more time with his wife. These and other more recent examples are bringing the conversation about work-life balance to the executive table.
How can CEOs, who often struggle with juggling the responsibilities of career and home life themselves, promote healthy and positive work-life balance within the workplace?
Here at Hoffmann Reed, we have a few ideas:
1. Acknowledge That the Need for CEO Work-Life Balance is Universal (But Balance is Subjective)
While entry level employees and executive level employees have far different jobs, the desire to find a balance between work and home is shared by everyone.
Where executive and C-level employees have more responsibilities across the organisation, entry-level employees often shoulder the responsibility of many day-to-day tasks that keep your company running. If you want to truly promote work-life balance within your company, it needs to be accessible to everyone at every level.
Yet, it is vital to understand that work-life balance is an ideal we are continually working towards. It’s not a static place where we will arrive after taking a certain number of steps to improve. Work-life balance is constantly changing throughout our lives.
Additionally, what is considered balance will change from one employee to the next. The ideal work-life balance for a Chief Executive or CEO who is married with children is going to look a lot different from the ideal balance for a single, entry- level employee who has just graduated from university.
2. Take an Honest Look at Current Practices and Policies
When most companies audit their benefits, practices, and policies, it is usually in relation to a discussion of cost. While this is necessary, it is also important to closely examine your business through the lens of promoting work-life balance.
Are employees given ample opportunity to pursue individual interests outside of the workplace? How accessible via phone and email are your employees expected to be outside of standard working hours? Do you offer family-friendly voluntary benefits such as childcare vouchers?
3. Find Ways to Be Flexible
Since what work-life balance looks like changes not only from one employee to the next but also throughout one employee’s life, any policies that are exceedingly rigid may end up being unnecessarily limiting.
Based on your industry, there will be certain aspects where you simply cannot afford to be flexible. Chances are, however, that there are a lot more opportunities for flexibility than you may realize at first glance.
Occasional telecommuting, for example, is something nearly every business can accommodate to one extent or another. Thanks to modern technology, there’s not much that can be done at a desk in the office that cannot be done from a desk home. For employees with young families who may occasionally need to stay with a sick child, working remotely offers the chance to maintain productivity despite being unable to send their child to care for the day.
4. Commit to Making Changes for the Culture
After you have identified areas in need of improvement and found ways to allow more flexibility, it’s time to commit to making a change. Rewriting and sharing a mission statement and company visit is a good place to start.
To truly implement changes, however, you are going to have to invest in the change. That means devoting resources, such as people, time, and money, to bring about a shift inside your company.
5. Lead by Example
It’s easier said than done, we know. As Chief Executive and CEO level employees, you set the bar and tone for your company. When employees at all levels wonder how to move up and succeed within your business, they look to you. If you spend 90% of their time in the office and rarely take time for family or other pursuits, you are setting the bar up at an impossible height.
As CEO, you serve as the example for your employees, customers, and shareholders to follow. When you make steps to improve the work-life balance within your company and your life, you create a space for your employees to cultivate work-life balance in their own lives.
At Moorland Human Capital, we know how difficult it can be to lead successfully in business today. Our Leadership Consulting services can help you learn not only to practice, but also to promote a positive work-life balance within your organization. For more information, check out our Leadership Consulting page or contact us today.