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Is Your Work-life Balance Strategy Flawed?

March 21, 2022, 5-min. read
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Over the last 2 years almost every company has been on a journey to rebuild a (post)pandemic-safe working culture.

These new sets of rules and expectations have taken stock of almost every facet of a business, from HR principles to customer service to a deep integration of tech. Within that reassessment period, companies have had to factor in a major change to employee management - that of adjusting workflows around COVID-19, and deciding which changes are temporary and which would be permanent.

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This immediately caused a rupture in the old order of business - most immediately and obviously in the understanding of what a new, work-life balance should be and could be.

Employers have forever touted “a good work-life balance” as a catch-all headline recruitment perk that generalizes how impactful or non-impactful work is on your ability to maintain a good, happy life both in and outside of work. It has also been a collectively “good” thing that candidates have sought when looking for a new job.

However, it is, rather ironically, a pretty subjective opinion. It's not one that’s been easy to reconcile in our post-pandemic working world.

Despite the move to hybrid and remote work, and a new working normal where the distance between many people’s homes and work is literally and figuratively closer, striking the right work-life balance is still extremely important to workers.

As such, employers have been attempting to rewrite the rules of what makes a healthy work-life balance in the age of COVID.

The pandemic has, of course, changed previously understood and promoted work-life balances completely.

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Here are the typical mistakes business leaders make when attempting to strike good work-life balance:

One Size Fits All

Leaders who try to affect any type of change to their company’s work-life balance should be applauded. But can uniform changes work in the long term? Consider demography - a younger worker with no dependents does not work, or live, the same as a parent with 2 children. Whatever changes to working schedules, culture or expectations you make will not be received the same way, nor will it benefit your workforce the same, if at all.

Every Person For Themselves

To the same ends, a “free for all” open forum of work-life balance adjustment cannot be free of some structure - not only is this bad for community spirit and engagement, but project management and indeed performance management will be impossible without some guiding work principles that everyone can and should work towards.

Do Nothing

The worst thing you can do is nothing: legacy ways of working are not applicable to our new normal and, while some degree of hesitancy should be expected when the future is unknown, doing nothing and expecting your staff to work to the same level of productivity and engagement as they did pre-pandemic is neither acceptable nor possible.

So how do companies make a safe, future-proof work-life balance for employees?

This comes down to Empathy, Communication, Evaluation and Correction

Listen & be empathetic

  • Empathetic management is the fuel for modern management and will go a long way in building collaborative, understood and committed-to work-life standards.

  • Empathy is understanding how each member of your team dealt with, and is dealing with, the after effects of the current circumstances, and the establishment of new systems of work that helps as many staff members as possible navigate our new normal.
Is Your Work-life Balance Strategy Flawed?

Act & communicate

  • This is the logical next step beyond empathetic management - communication means the ability to hold every staff member and your wider team to account, to communicate and explain your new working arrangements and ground them in context and empathy.


  • This means having the humility and maturity to change your working system if it isn’t working. This means both managers and staff have to be able to assess whether new cultures of work are actually delivering success and maintaining levels of happiness and productivity.

Course-correc continuously

  • Establishing a good work-life balance is no longer about what perks you offer, or even necessarily where work is held.

    What it means is leaders building a new system of empathetic, agile management that above all else listens to the needs and wants of employees. It’s about a new style of management that centers your employees and their needs. 

    This is the simple foundational fix to build a better working culture which, in turn, will generate a positive work-life balance.

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