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Humanizing Hustle: Achieving True Work/Life Balance

In today’s world of work, we are overwhelmed with content related to getting “stuff” done. Which is cool and all that but when it comes down to it… Is the current concept of hustle sustainable?

At PurelyHR, we don’t really think so.

We see countless of posts online talking about hustle and how to avoid burnout and surprise surprise, those two things actually can be mutually exclusive.

Take me for example, a year ago I totally bought into everything business influencers were saying about working from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep. I thought I had to be “hustling” through the weekends and getting up at 5AM and working until 2AM. I believed that if I wasn’t willing to strain myself like this for my work, that I wasn’t passionate. And you want to know what happened? I began to resent my own work. The thing that “woke me up, and kept me up” as I used to say started to become the very thing I hated to do the most.

Is this the culture in your office? Is this why your turnover is so high? I’m not sure, but I can definitely tell you it’s not helping if it is the case.

I think for a business owner you look to that person who’s usually the first in and the last out and think “That’s the ideal employee right there” and sure that may be true, but it’s just not a sustainable way to work.

In a recent study by the US Travel Association results showed that 64% of people say that after a vacation, they feel refreshed and excited to get back to work! Which is great… The problem here is that the same study also showed that 55% of Americans did not use all of their vacation in 2015 (and our own software data shows not a huge difference in this in 2016 or 2017).

Even when they DO take a vacation 41% admit they’re checking into work while away.

And they’re definitely lead by example here as 84% of executives say they’ve canceled a vacation in order to work.

We’ve seemingly created a culture in North America where we’re prioritizing our professional time way beneath our time spent with those who truly matter to us, or even just time with ourselves.

But the truth is, deep down we really DO care about our time away from work. A study done by Accountemps showed that time off is considered to be worth the most to workers when weighing job offers!

So we Know That Time Off Actually is Important to us, but why Aren’t we Using it?

Well, the Project Time Off has a few ideas

The top barriers for employees to take time off include:

  • Return to a mountain of work, 43%
  • No one else can do the job, 34%
  • Taking time off is harder with seniority, 33%
  • I cannot financially afford a vacation, 32%
  • Want to show complete dedication, 26%

So as an HR Decision Maker, what can you do to help?

We Need to Change our Culture. We Need to Change the way we Work. We Need to Humanize Hustle.

Hustle doesn’t have to be this big, bad work culture disease burning out employee after employee. You can still encourage your team to meet and surpass their goals and objectives. You can still pride them on challenging themselves and exceeding expectations. They just don’t need to sacrifice their personal lives in order to do it.

The main trick here? Achieving true work/life balance, which is definitely way harder than it sounds but as an employer there are a few things you can do to get started!

First things first, let’s combat those ugly statistics about the workplace provided by Project Time Off and change the way we make our employees feel about the company’s time off policies.

Here are a few ideas!

Make Your Time off Policies Extremely Clear and Accessible to all Employees

But this doesn’t just mean on their start date! PurelyHR offers email notifications to staff on a recurring basis to remind them of the days off the have left in that year. This can encourage them to use up their remaining days off before the end of the year.

Communicate the Value That Taking Time off Brings to Your Business Effectively and as Often as Possible

(Your team needs to hear that you support this).

Remind your employees occasionally (particularly the ones who never seem to use up all their vacation days) that a well-rested team member is a more productive team member. For those eager beavers who want to show dedication, it might make them feel like taking time off will help them work not just harder, but better! They also will need to hear that taking vacation doesn’t make them a lesser valued employee.

Don’t do the Bare Minimum. 

Unfortunately, this is pretty standard for most SMBs out there. Fancy time off policies seem to be more so of a trend in more innovative startup type cultures, but this doesn’t have to be the status quo! Find out what the demands are among your team and try to come up with something creative and unique. Or you can do what we did and google trending time off policies and let your team vote! It’s fun and interactive and gives them a benefit to actually look forward to besides dental and medical.

When your employees are in the office, it’s okay to let them feel the energy and to challenge themselves, but we also want to make sure they know it’s not required to take it home with them and that their vacation time will actually fuel them to do and be better!

Have any questions about Humanizing Hustle? Tweet us at @purelyHRSoft and let us know what you’re doing to fight employee burnout and changing your workplace culture!

Jared Goodman

As Content Coordinator at PurelyHR, it’s Jared’s job to research the latest and greatest time off trends and deliver them in impactful ways to our customers. A self-proclaimed Anti-Hustler, Jared knows the value time off can have in a business, having burned out several times as a freelancer before finding true work/life balance at PurelyHR. It’s his mission to help all 100,000 of our users achieve that same satisfaction.

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