LEADING THE WAY TO WORK-LIFE BALANCE

For most of my life, I was always under the belief that if you work hard, the rewards of that work will follow. Professionally and financially, I was not disappointed.

But during a family vacation punctuated by business call after business call, much to the chagrin of my wife and children, I began to question whether or not I was reaping rewards in all areas in my life.

After that vacation, it became clear to me that I wanted something different. So, I began actively looking for ways to combine my personal values, beliefs, and recent awakening to a more balanced lifestyle with my 20-plus years of experience in the material science and sleep products arena.

My search led to the founding of Nuvanna, a company whose mission is to promote health on the physical and the emotional fronts — starting with helping others get a better night’s sleep, but encouraging positive changes in nutrition, exercise and mindfulness, too.

And with a different kind of company, I realized you needed to be a different kind of leader: one who gave employees opportunities to find a healthier balance between their personal and professional lives, just as I had been fortunate enough to do with the help of family, friends, and wise mentors.

Happy Employees = Healthy Company

How does a more balanced lifestyle pay off for employees and companies alike? The impacts are profound:

- Employees feel more in control of their lives. Better rested, de-stressed employees are far less likely to engage in conflicts with coworkers. Plus, they’ve got the time they need to address challenges on the home front rather than having them spill over into the office.

- It’s easier to attract and keep good people. The dividends are many: higher retention rates, lower hiring and training costs, the opportunity to create greater loyalty and in-house expertise.

- Employees experience lower burnout rates — which naturally, leads to increased job performance.

How to Promote Work-Life Balance in the Office

There are many ways company leaders can help employees achieve work-life balance — and in doing so, transform their workplace culture into one that’s more positive, proactive and productive:

Pursue best Flextime practices. These include making work-from-options available to productive, responsible employees; training managers to implement flexible work arrangements effectively, and supplying technology that facilitates out-of-office work. 1

Make employee wellness a priority. By offering yoga classes onsite, giving out discounted gym memberships, or holding FitBit contests rewarding the most steps taken by one team.

Keep it kid-friendly. Providing onsite childcare options or discounts to quality child care centers lets parents focus when they’re at work — without having to expend precious time and mental energy to finding and maintaining caretaking arrangements.

Promote employee bonding. Hosting company outings, happy-hours, and team-building exercises fosters collaboration and knowledge-sharing among teams.

Be a good model. If employees don’t see leaders actively balance work and family time, they won’t feel they have permission to do it themselves.

Enforce vacations and short breaks throughout the day. According to numerous studies, both practices enhance productivity and creativity and reduce burnout.

Be a bridge over troubled waters. Offer generous bereavement, sick day and personal leave policies to help employees better weather stressful life events.

Create space for solitude. Set aside a comfortable room –not a place for meetings or other business interactions — where employees can reflect, recharge, and boost their creative powers. After all, some of the best ideas arrive during downtime.

For me, such practices are an integral reflection of Nuvanna’s commitment to helping others achieve well-being via a more balanced lifestyle — be they customers or employees. Doing so is making my company thrive alongside the people it touches.

Alvaro Vaselli is the Founder and CEO of Nuvanna, a startup that combines his 20+ years of leadership in product design and material science in sleep products with his passion to help others achieve a more balanced life. As an entrepreneur, innovator, and team builder, he inspires people to live a more balanced life that includes better sleep, mindfulness, positivity and gratitude. Alvaro is committed to providing best-in-class, innovative products with thoughtfully created and expertly curated resources.

Connect with Alvaro on Twitter and LinkedIn.

1. http://www.northcoast99.org/docs/flexible-work-trends-and-best-practices.pdf