Balance in the Workplace

Originally published in PRSSA FORUM

I come across articles a few times each year that rank public relations as one of the most stressful careers. The most recent list I could find put our chosen field in the same breath as enlisted military personnel, military generals, firefighters and commercial airline pilots.

While I find it difficult to compare a bad day in the office to that of a firefighter, putting out a PR fire is not something I look forward to in the wee hours of a weekend evening. The occasional crisis isn’t the only thing that will make us pull our hair out. Cranky journalists, uncooperative weather, budget cuts and a slew of other variables will also test our blood pressure.

This is why we need to find balance. Work-life effectiveness, or WLE, comes in all shapes and sizes. Whether it’s leaving a little early on Wednesdays to catch a hot yoga class or having access to the proper technology to work remotely during appropriate circumstances, WLE should be individualized and encouraged by organizations.

Here are just some of the perceived benefits of WLE that I have experienced during my career:

EMPLOYEE BENEFITS
1. Spending enough time away from the office will help employees avoid burnout.
2. Balanced employees are more consistent and efficient in their work.
3. Travel, culture and entertainment contain touchpoints that resonate with all forms of consumers. Having opportunities to experience new things will yield creative inspiration during brainstorms and program refinement.

EMPLOYER BENEFITS
1. A happy workplace helps reduce turnover.
2. In a closely connected industry, a company that promotes WLE will attract talent through employee referrals.
3. Active employees are less likely to deal with chronic illnesses, ultimately lowering the cost of healthcare for the organization.

As a closing note, include questions about WLE during research and interviews with companies. When a PR fire heats up the stress in your life – and it will – it’s comforting to know there is some balance on the way.

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