Aren’t they amazing!? You know how much your people love their jobs, and the organisation. You know they’ll willingly give up a weekend to get something important done – and you often see them leaving late and working through lunch.
One on the one hand, you’re delighted they’re so into their jobs. You’re pleased you’ve got such dedicated and passionate people working alongside you on such worthwhile work. But if you’re honest, a few things are worrying you, aren’t they?
People seem to be getting quite stressed recently. There’s been more than a few off sick this month. And you’re thinking recent tensions between colleagues may be because they’re just exhausted.
And you’re beginning to wonder whether the long hours might not be that productive after all…
You’re not alone
I can’t tell you how common this scenario is in the third sector. I hear it over and over in Taming Time my ‘time management with heart’ training for third sector organisations.
Want to know why? We attract wonderful, value-led, dedicated people who are 100% driven to make the world a better place – but their work-life balance is often shot to bits. When people are this dedicated it’s so easy to let work take over to the detriment of family, health, fun and friends. Not good.
So what can you do?
One of the strategies I teach is always model good behaviour.
As their manager it’s your responsibility to encourage people to work sensible hours and maintain a healthy work-life balance. I’m absolutely passionate about this because it’s leaders and managers who tend to set the working culture.
If you’re arriving at the crack of dawn, staying there till booted out by the guy who locks up and getting stressed out by the piles of work you take home every night – guess what? You’re setting a trend for similar behaviour.
You need to be leading the way
Be seen to work sensible hours, take a lunch break and knock off early every now and again to do the things that are important to you.
Talk about your yoga or writing class. Talk about the book you’re reading. Whatever. Combine it with earnest focus at other times – you’re not modelling laziness – but this is a really key part of your role as a third sector leader.
I was in Back Up, the national spinal injury charity, last week, and as I arrived at 1.30 to set up my afternoon workshop, staff including Louise, the Chief Exec, were chatting over their sandwiches at the central table – and they weren’t talking about work.
It was a delight to behold and I truly wish I saw it more often.
Over to you
So, how’s work-life balance in your organisation? Are you managing to model good behaviour or are you the worst culprit? Perhaps you’re concerned about the wellbeing of your people and don’t know what to do. Please do share your thoughts in the comments section. I love to read them.
So, what next?