Citizen of the World Guides
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chapter 28
need for balance

The number of hours that people work varies significantly, depending on the level of the job and their employers. People in clerical and other junior positions typically adhere to a regular working shift. So-called knowledge workers and employees in service fields, such as accounting, consulting, law and investment banking, often end up working 60 to 80 hours a week. The same applies to individuals in management positions.
While competitive pressures and globalization often mean that organizations have to be open for business 24 hours seven days a week, this does not mean that you should expect any of your employees to be available at all hours. Those organizations that respect the need for their employees to have a reasonable work-life balance will have a competitive advantage in attracting, motivating and retaining talented people. Such employers will utilize innovative methods for designing and organizing the way work is performed and jobs are designed. They will offer flexible work-hour schedules and encourage employees to take their full amount of holidays.
Be realistic in making demands on your people. Do not ask or expect anyone to work more than 40 to 50 hours a week on a regular basis. You need to have healthy, productive TEAM members who can maintain a sense of balance between their time at work on the one hand and their personal and family life on the other hand.
Establish two-way boundaries with your TEAM members regarding a regular no-contact period for sending e-mails, texting and calling on cellphones starting a half hour after each workday ends and extending up to one-half hour before the next workday begins, other than in the event of an emergency. Once established, respect these boundaries yourself.
It is in no one’s interest to push the people working for you until they experience burnout. In fact, you should be careful when any of your TEAM members has to frequently work overtime and long hours to complete his or her regular work. Usually, this is a sure sign of either poor organization on the part of the individual or that you need to reassess the expectations for the job.
The most productive and valuable employees in any organization are not those who spend the most time at work. They are those individuals who have the inner resources to think, plan, innovate and work “smart”. In most cases, these are individuals who enjoy a healthy balance between their work on the one hand and their family, friends, outside interests and community involvements on the other hand. Such persons usually have a much better perspective on what is happening in their work environment and around the world.
For yourself, the challenge is to find the right work-life balance and trade-offs that are appropriate at this time in your life. This will likely change as you progress in your career and your priorities become different. Your goal should be to become a winner at work, at home and in the community as your life and career evolve.


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