Work Life Balance: Buzzy Concept or Real Strategy

You’ve worked hard to build your business from the ground up. Whether it’s family owned or you built it on your own, your blood, sweat and tears are built into the fabric of your company. You’ve spent long hours making sure projects get done the right way. You’ve been up long nights finishing paperwork, figuring out how to make ends meet or working with that technician who needs a little extra guidance. You celebrate with your team and love your work – you’re proud of what you’ve made.

That unquenchable drive to make a great company, filled with great employees, that serves your community has helped you succeed. It’s also cost something to you – the other areas of your life. Late nights and early mornings. Missed recitals, sports games and date nights. What have you sacrificed to keep your business humming along.

There’s simply no such thing as work/life balance when you own your own business. It’s a concept that has gained much favor in recent years and may seem like something that doesn’t fit what your business is about. You work hard and expect your employees to do the same. Period.

Facts being faced, however, work/life balance is an important concept and is definitely something all business owners should be thinking of. To put it another way, hard work and hard play can, and in reality, must, go together.

Recent surveys bear this out as well. A 2009 study of more than 50,000 global workers in a variety of different roles found that 21 percent of respondents who were “happy with their work-life benefits “worked harder. Further, 33 percent of respondents reported that they would likely stay at the organization. It’s pretty expensive to train new people, so keeping a third of your workforce is a pretty big deal.

By 2025, more than 75 percent of the workforce will be occupied by the “millennial” generation. This is a broad group that, above all, prizes work-life balance. In other words, pay isn’t the end all be all. The other factors are just as, if not more, important.


What can you do?

The 2009 survey asked the respondents to list their five most desirable employer practices. Over 63 percent of them said that a flexible work schedule was extremely valuable, followed closely (62 percent) by ensuring that they have an appropriate workload.

So what are some concrete steps you can take?

  • Think about each of your employees’ work load. Can you shift some projects around to make each employee’s day a bit easier?
  • It’s difficult, but think about how you can build in some flexibility to your workforce’s schedule. Perhaps more vacation days or swing shifts.
  • Ensure that your guidelines for each project are clear. Nothing makes an employee feel worse than being unsure of his work.
  • Think outside of the workplace. Whether it’s full-fledged childcare incentives or smaller programs, think of the kinds of employees you have and what “extra” you can offer.

What about yourself?

We’ve talked a lot about employees and what they want and need to succeed in their careers. What about you? You’ve poured an incredible amount of heart into your business. What about your work-life balance? For an entrepreneur and business owner like you, there simply is not balance. You live and breathe your business. If the phone rings at midnight, you’re answering it. More importantly, you look after your employees. The pay you give them puts food on the table.

That’s an incredible responsibility, one that you are proud to hold. But is it time?

The key for a business owner like you is to know when it’s time to step back. You’ve put in the hours – when is it time to bring your focus in life around the other way, toward family, recitals and soccer games? You may be nervous about selling your business – how much is it worth, what about my employees, will my family and I have enough money? “How do I even sell the thing,” you might ask.

That’s what we’re here for. ResCon specializes in preparing your business for sale, getting top dollar and helping that sale close. And, your business is probably worth more than you think it is, meaning you can sell sooner than you think.

There is life after your company and you deserve to start living it.


Gokul Padmanabhan

Written by Gokul Padmanabhan

Gokul Padmanabhan has devoted the past 15 years to buying and selling businesses, much of that in the restoration industry. His partnership with Restoration Brokers of America strengthens his hands-on expertise with a national presence and infrastructure that is second to none.