The Paradox of “Working Hard”

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance is paramount for long term success. In this day in age, technology has been both a blessing and curse in regard to how a business’s daily operations are run. Yes, we can inform, communicate and delegate with employees at any given time and increase our efficiency in performing certain tasks, but this doesn’t necessarily mean productivity is increasing with it. In fact, dealing with the inability to “switch off” from work is becoming an elevated problem with many business owners. This is where our paradox comes into play, we can put in long hours of time and energy, but is it getting us anywhere and what are we sacrificing for the sake “working hard”? Here’s a few reasons why a healthy work-life balance is the key to success for you and your business –

Productivity

While there are only so many hours in the day, being chained to the desk or your home office won’t make your work get down any faster. In fact, you may be able to survive on fewer hours sleep but your productivity levels are more likely to decrease.

Giving yourself a full plate day in and day out can leave you feeling unaccomplished and constantly under pressure. After a while, resentment will likely build towards your colleagues, business partners and employees. It can be easy to fall into the trap of working hard and long hours to get things done but overwhelming yourself with tasks will only hold up the process.

A healthy work-life balance means something different for everyone, it could be implementing a working-from-home schedule or flexible working hours, or simply encouraging your employees (and yourself) to take a break.

Productivity among yourself and your employees has been shown to increase company loyalty, engagement, staff retention and overall employee satisfaction. When running a business, these are all key factors in its successful longevity while positively impacting the success in its industry and the overall business value. This is crucial when the time comes to implementing changes in business structure, operations or if you decide to take on a partner or, inversely, choose to pass it on.

Prevent Burning Out

Every business owner will tell you that running a business is no easy feat. Between schedules, problem solving, making sure everyone is hitting their targets and the general financing and upkeep – it’s a lot to manage.

This is especially true for small business owners and entrepreneurs attempting the expand their business. In saying this, it’s very common for business owners to take on more than one role and working longer hours to ensure that everything gets done. In most cases, this is to save money and keep to the set expense budget. However, when you’re trying to accomplish multiple roles, your attention can become strained and you can risk burning out.  

Burning out can lead to depressive feelings, lethargy and being unable to concentrate think with clarity. This goes onto affect decision making, productivity and overall performance. As a business owner, when you spend too much time trying to get it all done, this will eventually filter through all areas of your life and can affect your sleep, relationships and -of course- your stress levels.

It’s one thing to save on expenses, however, if you’re at your desk after midnight or awake at 3am thinking about tomorrow’s checklist then something needs to change. The worst thing about burning out is that is almost always a slow burning process with major long term effects – for yourself and your business.

Between the lack of sleep and the high stress levels, being burnt out can mean projecting your frustrations and anxiety onto your employees or falling behind on assigned tasks. Whatever it is, it will make for a very unproductive and unhappy workplace. Employees need encouragement and support to maintain productivity, if this isn’t happening, it won’t bode well for the business. Implementing a work-life balance allows you to switch off and focus on your life outside the workplace (even though it might be hard at first). If the proper steps are not taken to step away from the office, then you’ll have little strength to continue, let alone want to.

Long Term Success

A healthy work-life balance is different for everyone. It could mean spending more time at home with your family, prioritizing your health or simply disengaging from work (in all its forms) as soon as you leave the office. Whatever, your idea of a healthy work-life balance is, make sure that it’s flexible and attainable. No day will ever be the same and there will be days that are longer or more work-focussed than others, but as long as you make time for yourself, the success will follow.

Running a successful business requires a business owner to have a clear goal in mind for short and long term success. While these goals need to be prioritised, allowing yourself the time to recharge will be the key to achieving this success.

Your business is your most important asset. So, while working hard might seem like the best course of action, working too hard will cause a paradox and lead to a decrease in productivity and job satisfaction. This will inevitably filter down into other areas of the business and can have severe long term effects.

Burnout and decreased productivity are factors that can damage a business’s overall cohesiveness, operations and structure. If these are affected, then productivity, employee retention, quality of product and customer retention are all at risk. Your work-life balance must be maintained to be to ensure that your business maintains its strength and relevance in its industry.

As a business owner, you are responsible for your business’s overall success and value. These two areas are crucial when it comes to making changes in the business’s structure and future decision making. Your future might include bringing on a business partner, assess your strategic planning or passing on your business to a successor. Therefore, it’s important to make sure you do everything within your control to optimise your business’s value. Requiring a business valuation is highly recommended when making your next business related decision, in some cases, it’s a requirement. So, it’s important to seek out a team of specialists that can provide you with the accurate value you need. In the meantime, implementing a healthy work-life balance is essential for ensuring you and your business can achieve long term success.

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