At the start of the new year many of us have goals of a fresh start. It seems like the perfect opportunity to correct any mistakes or wrongs we have made. On this blog we have already talked about specific new year’s resolutions for small businesses and start ups, but what about changes for yourself as a leader? Running a business is incredibly demanding and time consuming work. In order to better your business, how can you make improvements to become a better leader, employer, and owner? One of the best things to work on this year is creating a healthy work life balance for yourself.
We have all heard that you can’t take of others unless you take care of yourself first. But, we tend to think about this in regard to parenting, families, and marriage. The thing is—it applies to you as a leader as well. As a small business owner you can’t take care of your employees, customers, or business, if you aren’t taking care of yourself.
It is important to recognize that sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself, and ultimately your business, is to take a step back and work on balancing your job responsibilities, your home responsibilities, and time to relax. Working less may seem counterintuitive to the success of your business, but having balance does not mean slacking off. Balance can help your physical health, boost productivity, and create a more positive environment for employees. These are all things that will ultimately benefit your business.
So…why should you strive for a healthy work like balance this year?
There are Physical Health Benefits
Stress takes its toll physically on the body. From headaches to weight gain to stomach and sleep issues, overworking can have plenty of negative consequences. The American Institute of Stress tells us that stress from work is the biggest source of stress in Americans’ lives. “Increased levels of job stress as assessed by the perception of having little control but lots of demands have been demonstrated to be associated with increased rates of heart attack, hypertension and other disorders.” As a small business owner being sick or having heart attack means you can’t be working. It may seem like the better decision to work around the clock, but you will lose in the long run—with your health and financially.
Reducing stress and having a more healthy work life balance will allow you to be better equipped physically to run your business successfully.
You will be more Productive and Energized
Starting a small business or creating a start up is grueling, but it is a marathon and not a sprint. You do not want to burn out within the first year. Shawn M. Burn, Ph.D. of Psychology Today points out burn out means you are “exhausted…cynical…and lack efficacy.” When you begin to show these signs, you are not being the best leader or the hardest and most efficient worker.
Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right? Give yourself time away from the office AND from your smart phone, tablet, and laptop. Take mini breaks during the day. The break will help to prevent burn out, it can clear your head, and you will return with much more energy than you left with. You will be much better equipped to lead your company toward success.
As a boss, it’s your job to not only make money, but to also take care of the employees that work for you. They are your responsibility. Just how stress and an unhealthy work life balance will affect you negatively, it can impact them the same way. It is up to you create a workplace culture that promotes a healthy work life balance. Employees need to feel safe and that their leadership team has their best interests at heart.
Kristine Scotto, for the Huffington Post, gives the insight, “Many times, this cultural change, where people don’t feel obligated to burn out, must come from the top down in a company.” She explains that up to $300 billion can be lost each year from the stress of employees. Therefore, you need to prioritize your own work life balance in order to set an example for your employees.
When employees are healthy and feel satisfied with their jobs, they are more productive, less likely to leave, and will mostly likely take fewer sick days (Mazzitti & Sullivan, EAP). All of these things benefit you and the company. A more productive employee means the business makes more, reduced turn over means less time spent on hiring and training, and fewer sick days means you are paying your employees to be working.
This all sounds great, right? But you are probably thinking of your reality as a small business owner: you don’t necessarily have set hours, the success of the business falls on your shoulders, and there are things that simply need to be done. All of this is true, but for the sake of your well being and the well being of your business or start up, prioritizing a healthy work life balance for yourself and your employees is imperative. Take breaks, unplug, and consider outsourcing tasks, such as bookkeeping that are time consuming. I promise, you won’t regret it.
Contact Lucid Books to learn more about outsourced accounting and for more advice on your small business.