PR Close-Up: Work-Life Balance is a Joint Effort

In every search Chaloner takes on, candidates want to know: what’s the work-life balance at this company? In today’s workforce, work-life balance is a buzzword, but it’s important to consider what it really means to you. Throughout the many spheres of public relations and communications, specific roles have their own time demands, but in a world of smartphones, what can you do? This week, I’d like to explore practices both employees and employers are doing to achieve a work-life balance.

Think big
Your work is more than just what you’re physically doing in the office: it’s also your online and offline relationships, and even your commute. Thinking about your work experience holistically and infusing moments of leisure into your days will help the balance. It may seem counterintuitive to build in one longer lunch a week or making concrete rules for yourself about when you turn your technology off, but setting boundaries will ultimately have a positive impact on your work and is a terrific skill set when it comes to buckling down and getting things done. Work-life balance is not an achievement; it’s a practice.

Company initiatives
More and more companies are investing in their workplace culture by creating programs that promote work-life balance. Between healthy lifestyle initiatives, eliminating carryover vacation time, and making company events family-friendly, many companies are seeing the payoff of having employees who have the opportunity to recharge. A management team sets the example; that behavior will trickle down. Leaving when the workday is over and taking weekends as a time away from the job is a great and simple way to communicate to your staff that it’s important to have personal time.

Think in reverse
In a recent article in PRWeek, Gideon Fidelzeid pointed out that work-life balance is not just thinking about how work impacts your life, but also how your life impacts your work. Fidelzeid explains that strong employees bring their personal interests and habits into the workplace and “amplify them in a manner beneficial to the company.” How can you do this? Reading is vital. “Creativity is a PR pro’s stock in trade,” Fidelzeid says. Other tips? Use all your vacation days—they’re there for a reason, and you should use them to keep you refreshed. And if you’re in the world of consumer PR, you should also be a consumer. Shop your campaigns and your competitors, too!

Ultimately, work-life balance is a joint effort between employers and employees. Next week, we’ll look at more exciting employer efforts that are investing in their staff.