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How do you encourage your employees to find an ideal work/life balance?

Carter O'Brien's Profile


Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

The best way to relay this sentiment is by example. If you spend 16 hours a day in the office, it will be very hard for a lower level employee not to follow the example you set. Managers often forget that the tone they set is parroted by the workforce, i.e. work style, ethics, and respect for co-workers...

Chris Shumate
Title: Accounting Manager
Company: Dominion Development Group, LLC
LinkedIn Profile
(Accounting Manager, Dominion Development Group, LLC) |

Regis is correct. A company I worked for previously expected long hours because it showed devotion. It didn't matter if you sat at your desk with a spreadsheet open, they expected you to be there as long as they were. When they left, it was okay for you to leave. Biggest exception was entry-level staff accountants and accounting clerk that were paid hourly.

Where I am now, it is encouraged to leave early if a family situation arises, long lunches are fine especially when since my wife works half days on Fridays. It is a construction company with property management. During tax season we still had a lot to do with the amount of properties we manage. My boss left at 5:30 or 6 each night. The reason, he has a wife and the CPA firm wasn't going to get the returns out any quicker, so why stay?

Another way is to leave them alone while they are on vacation. Things come up, I understand that, but sometimes it is simpler to call the vacationing employee that to put forth effort to solve the problem without bothering them.

Another one that can raise morale is sporadically, it your company can, let your employees go home early on a Friday without charging PTO/vacation. If the company has to have a clerk or such there all the time, then alternate.

But I agree with Regis 100%, lead by example and do not commit your life to the workplace. It will not take care of you as an old, decrepit person that has to have help later in life.

Many others, but these are a few.

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

Well said by both. I have friends who work for a company where the owner works 80 hours a week because he is a workaholic. They "feel" like the same is expected of them. I have shared this with my owner who knows him really well and he swears that is not is intent. He wants his people to leave and be with their families. Unfortunately the saying is true No-one wants to leave before the boss so it causes stress when the boss never leaves.

I encourage my team to leave early on Fridays as Chris mentioned when we can and I also allow them to work from home if they absolutely need to and it doesn't get abused and they seem to love the flexibility.

Preach about the importance of it too. It shows them that you care about them as well as there personal happiness.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, |

Don't forget the first rule of fraud prevention; those who are always at the office move to the front of the line of "persons of interest".

Thus it should be company policy from a totally selfish reason to foster outside lives.

Mark Matheny
Title: VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis
Company: Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)
(VP - FInancial Planning and Analysis, Novolex (formerly Hilex Poly)) |

I believe you need to understand each of your employees and what makes them "tick." Once you understand that, you can monitor who is using their time effectively, who is overloaded, who is getting too stressed, etc. However, I don't think you can force someone to fit your definition of the work/life balance. You can't fit everyone into the same mold.
There are also employees that will take the lead from the management team. You need to make sure you are setting the right example and that your demands fit with your expecations on the afore mentioned balance.

Topic Expert
Linda Wright
Title: Consultant
Company: Wright Consulting
(Consultant, Wright Consulting) |

I would echo what Regis and Wayne said. I personally once took a 9/80 schedule when I managed a large AR/Credit/Collections department so that the staff would feel free to enjoy the option. We were having difficulty attracting top staff for the relatively lower paying positions. This schedule was especially appealing to staff with young children and netted great retention stats.

On the fraud front, we always insisted that the banking staff in my cash management group take full weeks off. This practice was a preventative measure, allowing better cross training and process improvement.

(Contract Accountant) |

The flip question is how to convey to management that work/life balance is important. Any ideas?

Ernie Humphrey CTP
Title: VP, Thought Leadership
Company: Stampli
LinkedIn Profile
(VP, Thought Leadership, Stampli) |

First, you need to ask yourself a question: Do I offer a work environment that allows this balance? Unless you truly understand all that your employees do and how much time it takes them to do it, then you do not even know if your employees are capable of achieving this balance. You need (or a colleague needs) to know your employees on some sort of personal level to assess where they are at, and where they want to be on the work/life balance spectrum. Allowing a flexible work environment that is focused on results and not only on the number of hours worked and when they are work is the best tool to use in encouraging and facilitating a work/life balance. This balance is different for different people so you should not try and a "force" one "right" mix for everyone.

Andrew Nussbaum
Title: Director of Finance and Adminstration
Company: **--**--**
(Director of Finance and Adminstration, **--**--**) |

Most recently, my staff comprised about 60% of the organization (direct & indirect) and while I worked extensive hours, I did my best to make sure they did not - including forcing them to leave, telling them to not come in on weekends, and making sure they felt comfortable taking time off or asking to work from home (where appropriate) -- I also suggested they leave early (for family, etc) with no repercussion, as long as their work product didn't suffer.
I hope they appreciated my leadership style... I did not promote the ole "good for the goose, good for the gander" approach.

Topic Expert
Malak Kazan
Title: VP, Special Projects
Company: ERI Economic Research Institute
(VP, Special Projects, ERI Economic Research Institute) |

You want the best performance from your staff and often times when they have personally matters that are unattended / neglected their work performance also suffers. What is a significant personally matter is relative so allowing time / flexibility for the balance is key keeping in mind regulations and company policy.


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