Work-life balance is an increasingly important concern when thinking about employee satisfaction and effectiveness. But for employees in HR, finance and accounting, the busy season at the end of the year might feel more like a work-life imbalance.
As finance and accounting professionals hustle to complete end-of-year closing processes and HR professionals gear up for the busy hiring season ahead, how can they maintain proper balance between life both on and off the clock? With the holidays on the horizon, Randstad has four insights to help you get a handle on work-life balance.
by the numbers.
So what does work-life balance mean? There’s no consensus definition. Interestingly, the American Time Use Survey from the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that, on average, Americans spend 24 percent of their time at work, 33 percent off work (not sleeping) and 43 percent sleeping. In other words, most Americans today actually have more leisure time away from work than time on the clock.
What contributes to work-life imbalance? Seasonal surges, like those affecting accounting, finance and HR professionals, are one obvious factor. But other, less obvious factors come into play as well. For instance, sometimes the things your company wants from you — like knowledge, engagement, commitment and innovation — and the things you want from your company — like recognition, compensation, communication and collaboration — aren’t perfectly aligned. In this case, you should seek clarification. Starting a dialogue with your boss about expectations and goals often goes a long way toward resolving frustration and forging a clearer path ahead.
prioritize the most difficult work.
Work that is particularly challenging — whether it takes the longest or requires the most oversight and review — needs to come first. If your organization has hired extra staff to address seasonal surges, bear in mind that new team members will likely need training before they can effectively contribute. Plan ahead, because that can add days to project timelines. But knocking out your largest obstacles first can generate major psychological uplift for the whole team, and make conquering remaining tasks seem like a breeze.
ask for a bonus or raise.
In a recent Monster.com poll, 40 percent of respondents said that work-life balance was the most important factor — after salary — when evaluating a potential employer. In other words, salary still has the power to shift the fulcrum around which the perception of work-life balance tilts. While a raise or bonus in return for your long holiday hours may not equitably rebalance how much time you allot to work versus your personal life, it might help recalibrate the scale.
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