Unveiled - The Secret To Achieve The Almost Mythical Work-Life Balance

Work Life Balance

03 January 2018

Unveiled - The Secret To Achieve The Almost Mythical Work-Life Balance

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

It’s Monday morning and you are at your desk with a piping hot cup of coffee with your planner in front of you – trying to figure out the week’s schedule, planning activities in a way that helps you take some time out for yourself. Two days in the week and whatever you had planned has gone out the window and before you know it, you find yourself furiously typing away at your desk into the wee hours of Saturday!

While 80% of us believe that a job that offers work-life balance is an important consideration when we take it up, not many of us are able to achieve this. The elusory ‘work-life balance’, at most times feels like a dream, especially for devoted employees. The do more with less culture has made it onerous for people to manage professional and family life.

When compared to other countries such as the UK, China and even the USA, India has the longest working hours – 52 hours in a week to be precise. This further pushes us to take the onus and manage our time well, so that we can take some time out to follow our hobbies.

Do you know what’s missing here? An integral part that we forget almost all the time – Prioritizing.

Karen Quintos, Executive Vice President and Chief Customer Office, Dell says that prioritization has helped her achieve work-life balance more comfortably despite her demanding career.

Let’s take a leaf out from her stance and see how prioritization might help us achieve work-life balance by considering the following.

  • Prioritising can help you space your work

Unplanned work has the uncanny ability to catch us off-guard. To make things worse, it upsets our mood and puts us in a headspace that makes us uncomfortable. While most of us cannot put off these tasks, day-to-day prioritising can help us space our work properly. When you prioritize the tasks for a specific day – you set your own achievable goals.

  • Prioritising can help manage your time more efficiently

Most of us feel that we are working for more than our share and yet not rewarded for the same. This is where prioritisation comes into picture, seniors need to delegate tasks according to the priority.  Also, every individual should aim for time based targets, this will not only bring you in the good books but also enhance your efficiency.

  • Set your own standards between what is too much work and what is not

There are some things we look forward to and others we detest, this judgement may also be the impediment for completing tasks. Prioritizing can help us identify what are the things that we like doing and are good at, therefore will require less efforts, when compared to those that we are not as keen about.

  • Prioritising gives you a sense of accomplishment

How many times have you felt drained out by the end of the day feeling what a waste of a day? Here’s a tip – prioritising enables us to list tasks and allot a time period to them, as and when you complete a task you get that sense of accomplishment motivating you to work better. A small tick for each work done acts as a confidence booster.

Work-life balance is not about how much time you allot to your work and how time you allot to your life. It is about the quality with which you live your life and do your work!

5 Mental Health Hacks for Entrepreneurs

Work Life Balance

30 September 2019

5 Mental Health Hacks for Entrepreneurs

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The contribution of entrepreneurs to a society’s growth, both socially and economically, is unparalleled. And yet, recent studies by Michael Freeman, an award-winning journalist, have revealed that entrepreneurs are 50% more likely to report having a mental health condition. While there is a lot of debate going on around the topic of mental health, it is still treated as a secondary issue. How many times have you taken a day off because you weren’t in the right state-of-mind? You would most probably reject it as a lame excuse, right? The same cannot be said of a gnawing back pain, though.

While it is totally understandable that your job as an entrepreneur is riddled with stress and burn-out, ignoring them is never the right solution. On the contrary, it may lead to chronic conditions that does no good to anyone. Well, fret not; here are 5 mental health hacks that can help you enjoy a fruitful work life.

Build mental resilience

People generally view entrepreneurship as a cool job; you’re your own boss, after all! However, no one realizes the amount of responsibilities that comes with the job. Running a business is tough and may get to you at some point. This is why, it is extremely important to understand right from the beginning that entrepreneurship is much more than just having an optimistic outlook. You must be ready for all the failures and setbacks that are part of the entrepreneurial journey. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes at any stage in the journey. Patience and focus are crucial in dire situations, and only a strong mind can give you the emotional stability to stay put even when nothing seems to be going your way.

Involving in constructive hobbies can help you build mental resilience and cultivate an attitude of taking things in your stride. So, the next time you feel overwhelmed, just switch off and tend to your backyard garden.

Identify the stress triggers

Anxiety and depression are common outcomes of extreme pressure, and they are not to be taken lightly for they have the potential to shut you off to your job and even yourself. You might sometimes feel a compulsive drive to get things going, unfortunately at the cost of relationships and health. Also, irregular eating and sleeping habits and losing touch with friends because of work may seem natural, but they can very well be the early signs of impending mental health issues.

Hence, it is crucial that you proactively identify the triggers that leave you stressed and anxious. Once you have put a finger on the triggers, find out ways around them. For example, if working on complex reports is what triggers anxiety, allocate a time of day when you’re in a relatively fresh state of mind and don’t have too much on your plate, such as in the morning. Take breaks or even sabbaticals. If need be, seek professional help. Understand that there’s no shame in admitting that you can’t take it anymore.

Manage your workload effectively

Managing deadlines and dealing with unpredictability at work are two of the biggest causes of stress, as your success depends on how effectively you manage them. As an entrepreneur, you juggle a lot of things and sometimes, it may all seem too much to handle.

Therefore, you should understand the importance of working smarter, instead of harder. Prioritizing your goals, assigning small tasks to each goal, and scheduling them properly can make things a lot easier. For example, set out two days in a week for all your meetings, so you don’t end up wasting precious time in the logistics of it all, which is mostly unproductive. Also, efficiency is something that entrepreneurs live by. So, investing in solutions that can automate most of the menial work can help a lot.

Nurture a support system

Entrepreneurship is nothing short of a roller-coaster ride with as many lows as highs. Failures and setbacks are part and parcel of the trip. And most of all, it is a lonely job – of course, you have a team to support you but the brunt of it all is eventually yours to bear. This is why it is incredibly important for you to have people you can fall back on. It can be anyone – your wife, parents, friends, mentor, or even colleagues. Just make sure you don’t hesitate in reaching out to them. Conversations and dialogue have always proven to be the best solution to dire situations.

Take out time for yourself

In addition to being your own boss, don’t forget that you are also your best friend. Entrepreneurship is a demanding job, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean you don’t give time to yourself. It is as important to invest in yourself as in your business.

Exercising and eating healthy can have a positive impact on your mental health. Ensure that you do something every day that makes you happy, be it reading, watching movies, or exploring new places – whichever suits you. Get involved in projects outside of your work – it can be anything, from cooking and cleaning your room to being involved in outdoor activities like football or trekking. Just make sure you enjoy the process more than the results and, most important of all, give yourself the room to make mistakes. It will keep you motivated and certainly help you deal with stress and anxiety.

Conclusion

Being an entrepreneur takes a lot of passion and commitment, and along come incredible amounts of stress that can affect your peace of mind. There is so much at stake; therefore, taking care of your mental health is crucial. After all, if you are not fit, the health of your business is also bound to take a hit.

Agile Versus Activity Based Working: Which One Will You Choose?

Work Life Balance

21 September 2018

Agile Versus Activity Based Working: Which One Will You Choose?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The way the modern world is shaping up is also deciding the way we work. Many organisations have come to realise the importance of, and the need for, flexibility in the workplace. Employers who allow their people to choose how they work are seeing the immense benefits this approach has on the individual as well as on the organisation as a whole.

Two such increasingly popular ways are Agile Working and Activity Based Working. Despite the two being different, they are often mistaken to be one, or people use the terms interchangeably. So, what are the two and how are they different from each other?

Understanding Agile Working

This approach gives employees maximum flexibility in choosing how they want to work. Employees are free to work from home, or from office, or figure out a combination of both. At work too, employees can choose whether they want to work from their fixed desk, or want to shift to a standing desk or work from a non-traditional space, such as the common breakout area.

The idea is to embrace openness and flexibility. Also called ‘smart working’, this allows employees to make the most of smart technology and cloud-based applications. By adopting this autonomous work culture, companies can attract and retain the best talent.

The advantages:

-Greater sense of autonomy and freedom for employees

-Job satisfaction, leading to better engagement and talent retention

-Overall reduction in operating costs

The challenges:

-Calls for a major culture shift for both, employees and management

-Can’t be applied selectively. The entire business needs to buy into the concept

-Requires smart technology and supporting IT infrastructure

Understanding Activity Based Working

Like Agile Working, Activity Based Working also focuses on giving employees the freedom to choose how they work. However, that’s where the similarity ends.

Where Agile Working is about the contribution of an individual employee, Activity Based Working takes into consideration teamwork and group culture. Here a lot of importance is given to changing workplace culture and design to suit team connections and to foster collaboration.

This approach works best around an open-plan office, with a healthy mix of quiet corners, collaboration booths, meeting rooms as well as huddle spaces. Businesses that have adopted the Activity Based Working approach notice improved levels of productivity as individuals can choose to work in workspaces that are best suited to the task at hand.

The advantages:

-This offers employees a choice of different workspaces

-There is greater autonomy for employees which gives them a chance to perform at their best

-Employees are more engaged and there is definite improvement in productivity

The challenges:

-Does not work with every type of industry or job role

-Requires a major shift in office work culture and management techniques

-Could entail physical re-structuring of workspaces

Conclusion

Both, Agile Working and Activity Based Working will give your business a competitive advantage. It is simply a matter of understanding which approach works best, or whether a combination gives your employees a chance to perform at the peak of their potential.

What Are The Factors That Enable A Flexible Work Environment?

Work Life Balance

30 July 2018

What Are The Factors That Enable A Flexible Work Environment?

  • Posted by Awfis Editorial

The way we work is changing, and businesses have to revolutionise how they manage the workplace and their talent to create a positive environment for all to collaborate in.

How do employees want to work? Do they want the privacy of cubicles where they can work without the fear of interruption and disturbances? Or do they prefer open plans which remove all obstacles to collaboration and foster innovation at a wholly new level?

How about a mix of both?

Take this workplace experiment carried out by advertising genius, Jay Chiat, who declared that his office was gong the ‘virtual’ way. Mind you, this was somewhere in 1993, long before words like flexi-hours or ‘work from home’ had entered our workspaces.

In his experiment, he decided to abolish cubicles and dedicated desks. Only open space and freedom. Unfortunately, this radical idea bombed. His workers rebelled, and he had to redo the office design. Yes, his people wanted freedom but not at the expense of losing their privacy entirely. What he needed was flexible working, an idea that was to catch on many years later, now.

Are you looking for ways to incorporate flexible working in your workplace? How do you make it work? By addressing these needs.

Give employees the power to choose how they want to work

As long as the output aligns with the final goal of the company, it does not matter how your employees work. Do not force them to do it ‘your’ way, but rather give them the space and freedom to achieve their goals in the way they deem most convenient.

This distribution of power is what constitutes a truly flexible workplace. When you let go of control, you will see an immediate shift in the way work gets done. It tells your employees that you trust them, which, in turn, empowers them to perform better.

Work is something you do; not some place you go to

A business looking to create a healthy work environment has to understand that every individual performs their best work in their own ways. And for this, businesses must support the employee’s method with the right tools.

About 25 years ago, around the same time that Jay Chiat had tried his virtual office experiment, Erik Eldhoen, a consultant, coined the term Activity Based Working (ABW).

According to this concept, work is an activity rather than a place to go to. And for that to work, workspace should be malleable. Employees should be able to mould and shift their work environments as per their mood, personality or type on work on hand. This is possible only if they have the right tools and technology that allow constant changes or movement. Surprisingly not many businesses, even those that claim to be flexible, are providing that.

Did you know that even today fixed technology outnumbers mobile technology by 2:1? This means that not every employee can take a business call while walking in the garden or concentrate on a project in silence, away from the daily bustle of the office.

By being able to move away from a traditional fixed-desk set-up and giving workers a chance to get the best of both worlds in their workspace, businesses can not only boost creativity but foster unexpected collaborations too.

Enable uninterrupted work

Employees look for a nourishing place where they can achieve their goals, in peace and quiet. As a business, it is your responsibility to create such an environment.

It might shock you to learn that on average, a worker is interrupted every 11 minutes, and that it takes 23 minutes to be able to get back to the task at hand.

Your workspace, whether it has cubicles or open spaces, needs to contain quiet private corners for employees to work from.

Foster innovation, don’t stifle it

There are some businesses that have not yet touched flexible working because they have an unfounded fear of losing control and encouraging chaos. To them we say, done right, a truly flexible work environment will in fact a foster innovation.

 

To conclude…

Those workplaces that combine the design of space and the right technology are today a creative worker’s destination of choice. Work-life balance is a thing of the past now; people are looking for work-life integration. And people who are in the business of workspaces, like coworking spaces and business centres, have recognised this need and cater to it. From private cabins, to flexible desks; from open collaboration zones to sound-proof meeting pods and phone booths; there’s a space for every type of work style.