How Culture Affects Work-Life Balance

“You don’t have to make yourself miserable to be successful. It’s natural to look back and mythologize the long nights and manic moments of genius, but success isn’t about working hard, it’s about working smart.” ―Andrew Wilkinson, founder of MetaLab

Work-life balance often finds its way into the forefront when billable hours are in play. However, billable hours might not be the only reason one's work-life balance is out of balance. In this Huffington Post article, Eryc Eyl suggests that the culture of a firm enables employees to create balanced lives. 

"...the organizations that really make employees feel like work-life balance was valued are the ones that enable those employees to do their jobs as efficiently and effectively as possible. In other words, the cultures of these organizations create an environment in which folks can do good work and then get the heck out of there! Some of the traits of these cultures include:

  • Ensuring that employees have adequate tools and resources
  • Investing in training and development to ensure that employees have the knowledge, skills, and abilities they need
  • Encouraging and enabling cross-functional collaborations
  • Implementing policies and procedures that distribute workloads evenly
  • Providing clear organizational direction that enables employees to prioritize their work"

Eyl's argument boils down to this: "don't just empower -- enable." Suggesting work-life balance, speaking to its value and encouraging employees to create it falls short of creating a culture that enables employees to actually do that.

How have you noticed work-life balance empowerment vs. enabling at your firm?