To some, having a healthy work-life balance in the startup world seems impossible. As seasoned entrepreneurs will often boast about burnout and late hours, those aren’t always badges to wear proudly, and can sometimes alienate top talent away from a company. Even in startups, work-life balance is a must and something that the best companies address early to reduce turnover, maximize efficiency, and control burnout. Here’s how:
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Create A Schedule That Works With Everyone
Gone are the days of expecting employees to work grueling, late-night hours every night. Although startups and founders often romanticize working late into the night as a key for them to be successful or get ahead of the competition, that’s not always the most productive means of output. According to Innospective, for work that requires deep creative thinking at a startup like engineering, UX, writing, or design, the sweet spot of productivity you’ll get out of an employee is between 4-6 hours per day. When factoring in other items like meetings, downtime, and lunch, the eight-hour workday seems to make sense. But it doesn’t work for everyone.
Despite the average being between 4-6 hours, everyone’s stride can hit at a different point of the day. You might have some developers that are night owls while your marketing team is more of the ‘rise and shine’-type. Working within these parameters not only will maximize productivity but have everything working in tandem on a routine; however, part of this too will be addressing these needs early. For example, if you have a developer that prefers to work at night, then ensuring that they know what their goals are for the rest of the development team to follow-along will be a must. Sit down and map this out with your team ahead of time, ensuring that everyone’s at their optimal pace.
Addressing The Wants
Beyond just scheduling, your employees are going to have other wants and needs to ensure that they have a healthy work-life balance. While this is the usual startup perks of unlimited vacation, a fully-stocked pantry, or offering to pay for conferences/classes, you’re still in a wildly competitive environment, which means addressing wants early is crucial to keeping retention. However, that all starts with sitting down with your team.
Ultimately, there are going to be certain perks that everyone will want; for example, as noted by Forbes, a staggering 51 percent of employees wish their company offered more flexible work options. The basic goal here is to value not only someone else’s efforts but their time as well, making them feel just as much of a valued member of the team as anyone else. If you, yourself, would want that perk as an employee, chances are your team will as well. Remember, the basic goal here is to define a solid company culture early, giving everyone a fair shot at helping build this foundation for years to come.
Being Inclusive In Your Process
Another consideration when forming your company is simply involving your team as much as possible in things. You never know what brilliant hashtag an engineer might come up with, just like someone from the operations team could help with a UX problem. Although you don’t want to waste time asking everyone their opinion on everything, it’s smart to establish a more inclusive environment that encourages collaboration. Not only will it help everyone feel involved, but create a better workplace as well.
As noted by Access Perks, 70.1 percent of employees don’t feel engaged at work. After all, most people simply wait for orders or direction, which is a big no-no in the startup world; instead, establishing an environment that fosters people wearing multiple hats is imperative, expressing that you’re trying to build others strengths. Furthermore, try to periodically set up times to meet with your individual team members to assess what could be improved, as well as what they want to work on personally. All-in-all, making sure that everyone’s involved when possible not only freshens things up on a team level but helps them establish individual goals as well.
Overcoming The Hurdles
Finally, dealing with roadblocks along the way can be quite a difficult task for a startup founder. After all, no one likes conflict or dealing with headaches, but unfortunately, these are going to be necessary aspects of the startup life. In fact, as noted by CNBC, 23 percent of employees feel as though they’re burnt out at the end of the work week. Dealing with a conflict in a relationship in the workplace is bound to occur, which is why proper remediation processes are a necessity.
Sit down with your team and talk out any previous conflicts that commonly happened at their last startup, as well as what was done to solve or avoid them. Additionally, try to brainstorm any roadblocks you might potentially face based on what you know about each other and the company. Even though you don’t want to cause conflict based upon speculation, you all should be reasonable about any red flags, backing up your claims with evidence or logic/reason. Although it’s easy to get wrapped up and emotional in the startup world, it’s important to keep a pragmatic, calculated method in place to ensure that everything is dealt with in a fair and balanced manner for the life of your company.
What are some methods you’ve found successful for establishing a healthy work-life balance? Comment with your insights below!