Jian Han is an associate professor of management at Ceibs in China and co-director of the Ceibs Centre on China Innovation. Her top five tips on implementing a work/life balance are:
1. Change mindsets – each employee should to do an assessment of what she needs from her professional and personal life. This will be very useful in later identifying jobs that meet these needs. The recruitment stage is a good opportunity to obtain more information on corporate culture and performance expectations.
2. Don’t just focus on the numbers – executives who want to improve employees’ work-life balance should not base managers’ rewards solely on the numbers. Reward and recognise managers who have the ability to connect with employees on a human level, such as those who are sensitive to employees’ scheduling conflicts and are capable of providing emotional support to staff.
3. Be open-minded – supervisors at all levels need to be aware that employees’ (including themselves) work and life cannot be separated. People experience a constant stream of emotions, perceptions and motivations as they react to and make sense of every day events. Training may be needed to strengthen such awareness.
4. Avoid negativity – managers can help employees develop positively in both work and life by providing direct help, adequate resources and time and also by reacting to both successes and failures as opportunities to learn. Unnecessary hindrances, time pressure and purely evaluative orientation are all impediments.
5. Collaborate with others – it is important to build partnerships and align with other managers or work groups to cover work-life issues in a systematic manner.