Why Work-Life "Balance" May Not Be the Answer

Why Work-Life "Balance" May Not Be the Answer
Why Work-Life "Balance" May Not Be the Answer
By Lyndsey Scofield, Principal Consultant

Many of us seek an optimal work-life balance — and based on the never-ending supply of articles on how to achieve it, many of us don't yet feel that we've attained it. But is balance simply a matter of allotting equal time to work and personal life? What are we really trying to achieve?

At TransPro, the notion of taking care of the whole self is critically important. One of our core value statements is: "I am responsible for the balance that allows me to achieve both personal and professional goals." Read on for a deeper dive into how we actionalize this.

Even though we use the word "balance," TransProvians don't tend to think about it just in terms of making more time to do activities outside of the normal work day. We think of it as using our time intentionally and with purpose in our professional and personal lives, taking care to achieve what's important to us in both.

Our approach also includes the word "responsible" for a reason. As part of the culture of ownership we seek to instill in our workplace, it's important that we each take personal responsibility for managing work-life balance. That doesn't mean we're each an island — it's actually very typical that we check in with each other and encourage each other's success (another one of our values). It does mean that it's ultimately up to us to put down our phones when engaging with our families, or set the alarm a little earlier to train for a marathon, or put time on the calendar to take a vacation.

This shift in mindset is empowering, and was recently reinforced in a book whose simple message our team enjoyed. Titled The Coffee Bean: A Simple Lesson to Create Positive Change, the author uses the metaphor of an egg, a carrot, and a coffee bean submerged in hot water to illustrate the lesson. Rather than being like an egg that hardens in hot water, or the carrot that softens, we can choose to be like the coffee bean that changes its environment.

No employee can fully control his/her circumstances. We can, however, feel empowered to choose what's most important to us living a fulfilling life, and make small, daily choices that lead us closer.