Blending is the new Balance

For years the mantra of work-life balance has been on many people’s lips, in reality though, this “balance” is often more a case of female employees trying to juggle childcare with work responsibilities whilst feeling guilty about not being able to give either their full attention.

Similarly there are many other employees who genuinely want to advance as far as they can at work but also need time and energy for other commitments: family or voluntary work or a hobby or passion. For all these people the concept of work-life balance can just feel like big talk with no substance behind it.

But what if we were to turn things on their head? Instead of having Work and Life on two side of the scale always competing for attention, what if we treated them as a whole? What if employers recognised that every employee comes with needs – and at times these needs are more important to support for both staff and the employer, and the employer should pay attention to that to improve the employees morale, commitment, and productivity.

It does not mean that staff do not value their work and want to give it their best. In fact often the other aspects of an employee’s life are what shapes them and feeds the strengths and skills that make them the invaluable asset they are at work.

So, what if employers trusted their employees?! Trusted them to be there when needed and trusted them to get the job done but in return did not bat an eyelid if that employee was sometimes not at their desk because their child has a school play or their elderly mother has a medical appointment or their sports club has a vital fixture or their band has a gig at the other end of the country that evening.

In our digital world there is increasing and implicit expectation on employees to be available 24/7 and many feel the pressure to conform. So why should they also be expected to be chained to their desk during office hours every working day of every working week?

We are proud of our focus on flexible working and have been gradually moving away from more traditional approach to ways of working into a workplace culture that measures success based on employee’s output and delivery of great work. The focus is no longer on the amount of hours employees spend at their desk but on what they achieve.

Below is a sample of some of the people working for Xcite for whom your typical 9-5 scenario does not apply – if anyone works those hours any more anyway!

Amy, Social Media Manager: “Being a parent means I could spend a lot of the time feeling guilty over not be able to attend school events like sports days or plays. I say ‘could’ because with flexible working I can focus on work without feeling bad about popping out to do the school run, or taking my son to the doctors. The work all gets completed on time to the same standard, the difference is I am a much happier employee! This is the first company I have worked for with this relaxed mentality, and for me specifically it has meant I can have the whole package, a career and be there for my son at the same time.”

Catherine, Copywrite Lead: “I do copywriting and my daily working pattern varies enormously around my work and children but somehow everything fits in and the writing gets done – which is fine by me! In fact the variety of my life and involvements outside Xcite can often bring a fresh perspective to some of what we do.”

Whilst we would all still love “more time” to do yet more things we suspect that in today’s digital world this time craving is a universal phenomenon and none of us can ever possibly reach the end of either our To Do list at work or Bucket list outside! The important thing is to have enough of a blend to make us happy.

It comes as no surprise that research by the University of Warwick shows that happier workers are 12% more productive. Anything that contributes to the wellbeing of staff is ultimately going to increase overall business effectiveness.

What about you? Do you feel that you have a good blend of work and life or do you always feel as if you are spinning plates with one or more about to crash down? Would your company be open to some level of blending? We’d love to hear from you if you do decide to make some fundamental changes and may feature you in a future blog!