In this always-on digital age, it can be hard to maintain a work-life balance. And that is particularly the case when working within the fast-paced, challenging environment presented by a full-service agency. But that balance is vital – for both the agency and its valuable clients.
How to create a work-life balance
Just like a car or a mobile phone, humans can’t function when they’re running on empty. So, of course, the most obvious way of maintaining a healthy work-life balance is to make sure enough time is spent away from the office – to socialise, to sleep and to switch off. As the great philosopher, Dolly Parton, once said, “Never get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life”. And whether making a life means bringing up the kids, training for marathons, breeding llamas or learning to play the didgeridoo – work shouldn’t uncompromisingly get in the way of it.
Time away from the office isn’t just about avoiding burnout. Full-service agencies are vibrant, effervescent workplaces – multiple skillsets and thought processes collide together in one space and erupt into amazing ideas, creating standout pieces of work for clients from a multitude of sectors and industries. Staff need to reflect the energy of the work around them by being adequately refreshed themselves – which, in turn, means more dynamism, better focus, a higher morale and a committed team more likely to invest in the company and stick around for longer. Which, of course, then furnishes clients with greater stability and consistency.
Plus, it’s important to mention that time away from the office can help to fuel and form future ideas. How can our creative minds possibly react and respond to the wonderful things going on in the world around us if all we see is the tunnel vision presented by our own corridors? Nowhere is this truer than in an agency like M3, where creativity is at the heart of every decision and every project. To develop outstanding work, staff need to be open to the elements and influences of outside life, and that means stepping outside occasionally and breathing in the fresh air.
How companies can help achieve work-life balance for employees
So, with all that being said, companies need to ensure it is achievable and comfortable for staff to take time off. Accounts and projects should be shared out evenly so that everyone has a manageable workload. Teams should be cross-trained and made aware of each other’s processes so that everyone can switch off completely from time to time and take holiday without the fear of returning to a backlog.
In addition to taking holiday, flexibility is a key player in achieving a good work-life balance, and allowing staff to work around the demands of their homelife and other responsibilities can inspire a happier environment and, as a result, increased productivity. Putting measures in place to enable people to work remotely from home or alternative workspaces is a great way for companies to ensure their teams are able to comfortably put maximum effort in. Here at M3, members of the Client Services team routinely work from the offices of clients, which allows them to become immersed in an account or project, while building strong relationships and clear lines of communication. Plus, with the M3 Birmingham office now fully up and running, our team can enjoy some cross-region hotdesking and a reinvigorating change of scenery every once in a while.
But work-life balance isn’t just about time out of the office – it is also about making sure staff are happy and well looked after when they’re within the perimeters of the workplace. Providing designated quiet spaces for them to escape to and facilities that enable them to eat their lunch away from the glare of the computer screen are just a couple of ways companies can improve the work environment.
Work social culture
And agencies should never underestimate the power of a good night out! A calendar of occasional social events helps to bring staff together in a relaxed and informal manner, away from the pressures and deadlines of day-to-day working. Lifting up the workforce and placing them into another environment can help bolster relationships and boost morale – whether that be the local pub on a Friday lunchtime or somewhere further afield. Similarly, team building activities or employee volunteering schemes can work wonders to re-energise and re-focus.
Ultimately, what constitutes a healthy work-life balance varies from person to person, as pressures and responsibilities in personal and professional lives differ – meaning there is no one-size-fits-all approach. Full-service agencies are renowned for the fast-pace of their work environments, brought on by deadlines and ever-changing technologies. That’s why it’s vital that against the backdrop of all that hard work and passion that staff feel for their work they are well equipped by their employer to find their own sense of equilibrium, and effectively achieve a work-life balance.