Indeed’s list is nearing the end with next week’s wrap-up of number 16 “Looking For More Recognition.” But, circling back to skipped number 13 on the list is “Needing a Better Work-Life Balance.” Indeed’s author states “Having time for your friends, family, and hobbies is an important part of maintaining a healthy work-life balance. You may find that outside of working hours your manager is always contacting you or that you are constantly working overtime. At some point, this can begin to impact your personal time and make you feel burnt out. Looking for a new job that values employee’s personal time can help you achieve balance once again.”
The construction workplace, field, or office, rarely if ever runs out of things for its employees to do. Stopping points with what can be done in any given day are dictated by the resources and decisions needed to move forward and time restraints for the location of the projects themselves. Organization, communication and planning, in addition to working as a team create freedom. No matter what the size of the organization, an employer can help create an atmosphere of work-life balance by doing these key things:
- Clearly state who is responsible for a given task or project;
- Who a person’s back-up is for that task or project; and
- Who is accountable for tasked items assigned to an individual.
Having the above in place helps create a balance for employer and employee. This includes the ability of an employee being able to take a reasonable number of consecutive days off without jeopardizing the project, company, their employer’s business relationships, and not jeopardizing their own career.
What matters to others when you are not at work?
- No one is waiting on you for anything that is stopping them from doing their job. This is especially true if you are leaving on vacation or otherwise for any extended period. To remedy this, plan and complete things such as change orders, inspections, billings, or other decisions and signoffs that are time-sensitive and may be critical to business operations itself during that time frame.
- Your employer or associates can reach you to clarify information or ask a question by letting them know how to do so and what a typical response time would be. Example: If for personal reasons, you cut out early or come in late a day or two a week and you may be out of pocket- communicate with your designated backup so they can let others know what time they can reach you for the answer. Then, equally important, make sure to check your phone, text and email when you agreed to do so.
- You don’t abuse the system or take advantage of your peers working on a project with you by often having something personal to attend to during working hours. The key is always going to be a balance of work life and personal life, but not at the expense of others you work with.
If your personal life requires something different than you have been doing with your current employer or if you are making an employment change, communicating expectations and what you can commit to will allow both you and your manager to align expectations.
Some construction companies require every Saturday or rotational Saturdays, and if the contract and team assigned to the project are required to work Saturdays and you are unable to because of a family obligation, it may leave an employer no choice, but to pass on hiring you. However, don’t be disappointed because that would not be the right employment fit for you at that time in your life.
An employer must look at what is fair and balanced for the team as a whole and the contractual obligations they have with their clients. Making an exception for one employee, especially a new one could jeopardize many relationships. This is no different than if a parent requires all, but one capable child to get up every Saturday and do assigned chores, yet lets a favored child sleep in. The other children will resent the parent and the favored child causing family descension. The same happens in companies when an employee is favored over others.
The best employees are those who own their job responsibilities, share the responsibilities at the company within their expertise reciprocally with their associates and even when they are out of sight they are connected and committed to their work family. Their work family understands what doing life with them is and supports that because they do not ask anything of anyone else that they would not do themselves if the tables were turned.
If you do not have a work-life balance, ask these questions:
- Is it me or is it the company I work for? Some employees and employers think time served vs time well-served is better.
- Do I need to take time, ask for help and communicate with loved ones for better personal solutions to be able to meet my work expectations? Often, personal texts, phone calls and other distractions will eat away at work time. The ability to communicate and set boundaries with the family will increase your efficiency at work to free up your other time for personal. It might increase your income also!
- Has something changed with my personal or professional life that is tipping the scale? Do I need to address this with my employer or my family?
Lastly, consider the verse, “To whom much is given, much will be required.” (Luke 12:48). To me it means that we are held responsible for what we have and “no one has the right to live alone for himself” rather, it specifically implies that much is required from you as an individual, and you are responsible to find your balance for your life.”
Work-life balance is your responsibility and if this is out of balance, most likely those around you are looking for you to communicate and act relationally to resolve the issue. Both your work family and your personal family either want more or less of your time and that is another topic for another day. Hopefully, both want more, and that is a great problem to have. The solution is quality time over quantity time for the perfect time in both your work and personal life.
Are you taking time to evaluate your time?
To the Right Balance,