The topic of work/life balance made headlines again this week after a wealthy businessman resigned as head of a trillion-dollar investment fund to spend more time with his family.
Former PIMCO CEO Mohamed El-Erian said he made the decision after his 10-year-old daughter gave him a 22-point list of all the milestones he had missed in her life, including her first day of school, a soccer match, a parent-teacher meeting and a Halloween parade.
“My work-life balance had gotten way out of whack, and the imbalance was hurting my very special relationship with my daughter,” El-Erian wrote in a Worth.com article that has since gone viral.
In a widely publicized blog entry, Schireson noted: "As a male CEO, I have been asked what kind of car I drive and what type of music I like, but never how I balance the demands of being both a dad and a CEO."
With all the media attention on work-life balance, what’s the solution? From a global perspective, U.S. employees are working harder than ever. According to an infographic from www.businessinsurance.org, Americans are the world leader in productivity per person – but at a cost.
Check out these interesting facts:
Recent findings from Randstad’s Engagement Study show that U.S. workers are finding it more difficult to unplug from work, to their own detriment. According to our research, 42% of employees reported feeling obligated to check their email during vacation, while 26% feel guilty even using all of their vacation time. As the infographic below illustrates, the “workaholic” mentality can take a toll on overall well-being, family and mental health.
Expert advice on work-life balance
During our recent Women Powering Business panel events, the topic of work-life balance was discussed among our panelists who shared some key insights on managing both career and family – and the challenges both men and women face.
“What it means to have great work-life balance is a moving target. It’s having continual conversations about what it means to different employees to work hard for their companies and be successful in their lives too. It started a long time ago with the ability to have children, but it’s way more complicated than that today. Companies have to be responsive and be really good listeners. Every corporation is different, but it’s listening, first of all, and picking up on what’s going on in people’s lives.” - Kathy Tunheim, Principal and CEO, Tunheim
“It is an issue and it’s hard. We all know the work load doesn’t go away – it’s there. We have obligations, we have responsibilities and we have stuff we want to do. If you have children, you want to go see that ball game. Every company is going to deal with it differently and every individual is going to deal with it differently in terms of how you balance that. A lot of it is just communication -- sitting down and talking with your team.” -David B. Kaysen, Consulting CEO, Pillar Palatal, LLC
“There is that expectation, frankly, for women to try to be 100 percent to all people – and it’s just not possible. It’s a constant challenge and I’m harder on myself about it, but there’s times where I just have to let it go.” -Janeé Harteau, Chief of Police, Minneapolis Police Department
"Rubber" versus "crystal" moments
In a recent Time article, seven C-suite dads shared their struggles with "having it all" and work-life balance. Intuit CEO Brad Smith said he carves out time for his two daughters while running a multi-billion dollar software company by identifying "rubber" and "crystal" moments in life. He offers this advice to his summer interns:
"While you can bounce back from missing a rubber moment, like one of 100 soccer games, do not ever drop a crystal moment, like a graduation or birth of a child."
Check out the full infographic below!