Establishing a Work/Life Balance

Family Readiness Coordinator
Published Aug. 15, 2014

Summer has almost come to an end. School is starting again soon. This means the end of our care-free, spontaneous summer activities and back to the structure of routine life as we know it. When we look at this transition, we should consider our work/life balance. Ask yourself the question, “Do I have work/life balance?” and “Do I have to give up one for the other?”

This is an individual question that will vary depending on your personal views. There are some that believe that the ratio should be 50/50, and that makes you a well-balanced person. Others are willing to pay a higher price for career success. Work/life balance is a daily effort to make time for family, friends, community participation, spirituality, personal growth, physical wellness, and other personal activities, in addition to the demands of the workplace.

Whatever your answers are to the questions, having a work/life balance is very important. But let’s face it, it’s definitely a challenge. I believe that your work/life ratio changes depending on the nature of your job and the circumstances of your personal life. A quick look at your priorities will give you a definite starting point for how your balance is divided up. Also, take a look at your employer; see what your boss does in terms of their work/life priorities. See how their balance or lack thereof affects them, and the workforce.

I have been fortunate that my bosses at the US Army Corps of Engineers have understood the importance of that balance. I can’t begin to tell you the impact that having a boss that realizes that both mission and personal/family time are very important. It has had a direct impact on morale and productivity in our District. When employees feel valued they want to do an exceptional job to show their appreciation. When establishing work-life balance as a priority, it is a win-win for everyone. A sure tell-tale sign of poor work/life balance in the workplace include high-stress, increased overtime, absences and high-rate of staff turnover.

In a perfect world, we’d work from 8 to 5 each day, take an hour-long lunch, and then come home and spend uninterrupted time with our families. But for people working in a real-world society of today that is driven by producing more with less, this is simply not a reality. So as we prepare to transition our families away from those oh-so-fun summer activities, back to strict bedtimes and getting up early for school, let’s keep in mind to do it with balance.