The effort it takes to combine work and the rest of life is often described as balancing, blending, juggling, or just getting by. While some people and organizations have found successful strategies for meeting a full range of work and life needs, many struggle to find effective and satisfying solutions. Technology has made people increasingly accessible, allowing (or forcing) us to attend to multiple areas of life at any given time. At work, the pressure to perform is great, and on the home front, family support systems are often limited. As a result, we race to keep up with today’s information, activities, and priorities. All this equals chronic stress – and we are less productive on all fronts.
The way through the confusion and stress, we believe, is to understand your personal work/life patterns and preferences. By considering three factors – behavior, identity, and control – you can identify new strategies and small changes that will make you more effective both on and off the job1 .
Organizations, too, have a role to play in supporting employees’ work/life choices. Company leaders and managers must recognize that current structures, policies, and norms may not be working. They also should avoid taking a single, one-size-fits-all approach to developing productive employees and efficient processes.