Corporate Health Management: How to Promote Your People’s Work-Life Balance

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Wie Unternehmen Work-Life Balance fördern können – nicht therapeutische Methoden

As we have seen in the article "Introduction to Corporate Health Management", managing and improving the management’s health is one of the cornerstones of corporate management. Indeed, the quality of the organization’s strategic vision is strongly related to the health of its decision-makers and has an impact on the work atmosphere of the whole company.

The aim of this approach – which cannot exclusively deal with single individuals or the organization taken as a whole – consists in helping managers find a clear and coherent balance between their professional and private lives (notion of "work-life balance"), so they may have a fulfilling life.

Here are a few non-therapeutic elements that may contribute to improving the health of the company’s employees. The main axis consists in redefining the way people relate to 1) the organization, 2) their workplace and 3) their self-management.

1. Health improvement thanks to an organizational approach

The point here is to contribute to the integration of the human factor within the company, with the aim of fostering their adhesion to the organizational environment. This may be achieved by:

  1. Implementing a transparent strategy: by playing the game of transparency, the Board can encourage managers to contribute to the organization’s strategy by showing what role they can play in it.
  2. Developing a unified corporate structure that matches organizational structures: corporate culture is the fertile earth that allows the company’s human factor to grow. Indeed, a culture that suits the employees can significantly contribute to their well-being. Moreover, each culture corresponds to a certain organizational structure, which implies that a change in structures should also lead to a reorientation of the existing culture. This is an important point, as reengineering processes and mergers often favor the appearance of a multitude of micro-cultures, thus increasing the risk of clannishness.
  3. Adopting an attitude of vigilant tolerance: although all individuals need a certain amount of time to adapt when changes are implemented, it is also necessary for them to send some signals that improvements are taking place. Moreover, any attitude of inertia should be promptly addressed.

2. Health improvement thanks to a workplace-based approach

Disorganization and the lack of a clear vision represent significant causes of stress. The attribution of projects and responsibilities to the different managers should thus be made in the clearest way possible, so that they may themselves duplicate this approach with their own people.

In practice, we often observe that quantitative goals of a technical nature are often set, while qualitative and human-related goals are often left aside. In this case, managers lack a global vision as to what impact their work has on their partners. This is particularly true for managers who evolve in a matrix and/or workflows-oriented organization. Moreover, many of the difficulties managers are confronted to nowadays are related to the realism of the goals that are set to them and to the resources and tools available.

Also note that the redesign of a project or a modification of job specifications can set new requirements in terms of technical and behavioral skills. It is then absolutely necessary for the management to offer relevant continuous learning programs.

3. Health improvement thanks to a self-management approach

Finally, it is possible to contribute to one’s own health and well-being through self-management. This approach may be separated into 3 parts:

  1. Developing a better self-knowledge: this is a continuous process that may be apprehended through the knowledge of one’s physical, technical (know-how) and behavioral skills and which consists in progressively getting acquainted with one’s own identity and in developing a deeper rooting in life. It is this rooting that will allow managers to stand fast amidst the upheavals that are taking place in their professional environment. It also mitigates the impact of their emotions and worries, as well as of the burden of responsibilities, which allows them to strengthen their autonomy, creativity and intuition.
  2. Finding one’s work-life balance: the three main components of a work-life balance (illustration) – professional life, social life and private life – combine in a unique way for each manager. While some managers may work 60 hours a week and enjoy it, others can feel uncomfortable with a 45-hour workweek which is already undermining their private or associative lives.
  3. Clarifying one’s personal definition of professional success: It is important for managers to step out of the predetermined schemas of professional success that are promoted by their organization and/or private environment. They need to find their own career orientation based on the knowledge they have of themselves and of their personal interests. It is indeed important to underline the fact that professional success is, in the first place, a personal matter. Indeed, the way we measure professional success evolves over a lifetime and varies from one person to the other. Moreover, such indicators should include such notions as well-being and health, so that we may, one day, enjoy our retirement!

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