Work life balance. What does that look like? Who is responsible for ensuring it is achieved? I believe it is a shared responsibility. Shared between you and the leadership you report to.
We have all heard the question: Are you working to live or living to work? Most would read that question and assume that “working to live” is the correct answer. I would say they both are correct.
We are individuals with different needs, wants, and passions. I would argue that the person whose passion is their work is living to work. They focus on the impact they have on providing opportunities for others. They create a path that an individual can thrive in and become successful on their own. That is what fulfills them and gives them joy. Is there anything wrong with that? Of course not. There are those who prefer work as a means to an end in order to provide them opportunities outside of their work life to make an impact. Then there are those who work, work, work with no end goal in mind. There is no correct answer. Everyone needs to look within themselves to understand what contributions they desire to make in life and how that is intertwined or not with work.
We are always reminded through tragedy that takes a friend or family member suddenly or loss of loved ones at the end of life that we need to focus on things that matter. I was at an event a few months ago, where the key note speaker’s message was that very thing. He lost his wife through cancer and on her journey before her death, she wrote love notes to everyone around her that touched her life. These notes spoke to life, the beauty of everything around us and to appreciate every moment. The entire audience was in tears by the end of his message. We of course shared comments that YES, we need to listen to this message and focus on what matters, what is important, and appreciate more. Then we went back to work.
So back to the work life balance responsibility. Regardless of why we are fulfilling the work role we have, we all need a break! The hotel business is 24/7 and the restaurant business almost the same. Both are very demanding of our time and commitment to taking care of the associates and guests. We need to recharge and gain perspective whether the work is our passion or a means to contribute outside the work hours. We should appreciate every moment whether at work or outside and recognize contributions to people’s lives overall. Everything matters and has an impact on the people around us.
We looked back two years to review the amount of time our leadership on property along with hourly associates were taking based on their time off earned. For the most part, the hourly associate is taking their earned time off. On the other hand, the leadership team was not. We implemented a new policy for the leadership on property. As our mantra is “Doing the simple things brilliantly”, we did just that. The policy for managers is “Need Time, Take Time”. Of course, the usual approval channels are followed, but everyone’s needs are different. Leaders who have their area of responsibility organized, have trained the team fully and have their area running like a well-oiled machine should be able to take a week or two off with no consequences to their absence. The greatest measure of a leader’s impact is in their absence. Did their team carry on and stay on point waiting with pride for their return? Or were they questioning themselves if they were doing the right thing and exhibited lack of confidence in their leader’s absence? As leaders, we need to take notice and responsibility in allowing our teams to recharge. For those on your team who have a well-oiled machine it is a no-brainer. For the team members who are struggling, what support and guidance is required for there to be no anxiety surrounding taking time off? Think about it!
Now go schedule a vacation for yourself and your team!