Can You Expect Work-Life Balance?
In August 2015, The New York Times published an exposé of Amazon’s intense culture. Whether or not you believe every claim in the article, there’s no controversy about how hard most employees in the tech industry work.
But that doesn’t mean you need to sacrifice your work-life balance. We’ve got four suggestions for finding the right split between your job and your outside activities, interests, and relationships.
1. Pick the Right Workplace
Some companies expect their workers to stick around until 9 P.M. every night, answer emails within an hour (even during the weekend), and limit their vacation days to five per year.
Other companies recognize that promoting a healthy balance leads to higher productivity, less stress, and better employee retention over time.
If work-life balance is a priority, then seek out companies in the second category. How?
When you’re applying, ask your interviewer:
1. How many hours per week do most people in this position—or a similar one—work?
2. How available am I expected to be?
3. Do you reward effort or time?
You should also try to speak with regular employees at the organization to get their feedback.
2. Ask for Flexible Options
At this point, you should know which schedule works best for you as an individual. Maybe you’re an early bird and love arriving at the office at 7 in the morning. Or maybe you don’t get into the rhythm of your work until noon.
Whatever the case, define your ideal schedule, and then ask your supervisor how closely he or she can match it.
You should request remote work options as well. Being able to telecommute will save you tons of time.
3. Manage Expectations
If your manager is a good one, he or she will support your desire to balance your personal and professional lives.
However, you have to make it clear that’s what you want, so ask for a meeting.
You should have two or three prepared ideas for how your boss can help. For example, you could ask, “If you send me an email after seven at night, is it okay if I answer the next day?”
Or you might say, “Lately, I’ve been working overtime to get everything done, and I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed. Can we clarify my priorities so I can focus on the most important projects?”
During this meeting, avoid complaining or coming across as accusatory—neither of which will help your case.
4. Examine Your Schedule
Pay attention to how you spend your day so you can figure out where you’re wasting time. Maybe you realize that roughly two hours a day are taken up by meetings, but they’re usually unproductive. Or maybe you find that checking Facebook here and there consumes an hour in total.
Once you’ve identified these time-wasters, you can mitigate them. If you’re going to inefficient meetings, figure out what needs to be implemented (an agenda, a firm stop time, a limit on how long each person can talk) to make them shorter. If you’re procrastinating with Facebook, block it on your laptop.
If you can do more in the office, you won’t have nearly so much work to bring home.
Whether or not you love your job, it’s important to have time away from your work: time to spend with your loved ones, engage in outside interests, and simply relax!
About Signature Consultants, LLC
Headquartered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Signature Consultants was established in 1997 with a singular focus: to provide clients and consultants with superior staffing solutions. For the seventh consecutive year, Signature was voted as one of the “Best Staffing Firms to Work For” and is now the 14th largest IT staffing firm in the United States (source: Staffing Industry Analysts). With 26 locations throughout North America, Signature annually deploys thousands of consultants to support, run, and manage their clients’ technology needs. Signature offers IT staffing, consulting, managed solutions, and direct placement services. For more information on the company, please visit www.sigconsult.com.