The term work-life balance is overused and many a time, it is misused. Most organizations in the name of achieving this balance, create policies that theoretically hopes to achieve it but in reality, it fails miserably.
For example, a particular policy could state that an employee is entitled to X number of paid leave but never gets an opportunity to avail them. Project due dates and delivery make the employee voluntarily work, either in the office or stick his phone to his ear and clamp his laptop on his laps during his vacation.
Some companies allow their employees to work from home in the name of work-life balance. But in reality, that employee ends up working more than he would at the office. And creating an environment that closes in on himself, losing what constitutes of professional socialization.
Force Employees to take Vacation
Companies must do more than just policing on paper. They must kick employees out of the office and relieve them of all their duties. Employees not being there hurts the project and the business, so how can companies achieve them?
They must work toward creating replacements for all employees. All employees must have at least one back up identified. Not only identifying a backup, but the backup must also be capable of doing the things that the vacation-taking employee does. Only then, an employee can peacefully go on a disturbance-free vacation.
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Leadership by Example
Another way to achieve work-life balance is through leadership by example. When leaders take their vacation while letting their employees strictly know that they are not to be disturbed, this sheer act serves as a model for the employees to shape their vacations in a similar way.
When leaders on vacations attend customer meetings and take up escalation calls, employees are bound to feel obliged to do the same while they are vacationing.
With leaders going on a real vacation, employees too are encouraged to follow their leaders. You are killing two birds with one arrow – leaders and employees can really get out of the office.
The two ways to ensure employees can take their employees is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a number of ways to let this work and have their employees get refreshed.
Do you think your company walks the talk with their vacation policies?
Are you taking disturbance-free vacations?
Let me know.