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Be a Role Model for Work/Life Balance
Leaders need to be available to their people, but not ALL THE TIME. About a decade ago, I got a call on my personal cell phone from a direct report at 11:30pm on a Saturday night… for a non-emergency question.
I am a morning person. That was NOT morning. That was VERY NOT morning.
After that, I promptly learned how to set the “do not disturb” features on my phone. I also set and communicated the boundaries between work life and personal life… and encouraged my team members to do the same.
Basically, most leaders DO need to be available to their people for more than 40 hours in a standard work-week, but those leaders may have significant wiggle-room in setting up that time. Many leaders will set a “core” time that everyone needs to be available during a workday—for example 10am-2pm, Monday through Thursday. That way, it’s possible to schedule team meetings.
But if you have the parent who wants to get to work early so they can leave work when their kids are out of school (or on the other side, the parent who will stay later after arriving later from dropping the kids off at daycare), you can accommodate their needs. And you may find that the quantity and quality of their work improves if they are in the office when they are in parts of their days when they have the most energy, focus, and the mental sharpness.
You may also choose to adapt to hybrid or remote work schedules, to people who want four 10-hour days each week (so they can have a 3-day weekend), or other “non-traditional” work schedules. If people are getting all their work done and meeting their other professional obligations (e.g., submitting enough billable hours each week, working with their team members when appropriate, etc.), this flexibility often improves morale and retention. In fact, it can be a significant draw when hiring.
You also know when YOU are usually at your best, and you can adapt this type of schedule to make sure that when you are in the office, you are giving as close to 100% as possible. And you know when you will be tired or distracted or have important life stuff. If you give 100% when you are IN the office, you can let go of work when you are OUT of the office.