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How to Create a Work-Life Balance When Your Work is Not 8-5


Work-life balance is something we all strive for. Although some people might say that you give that notion up if you are self-employed or a business owner. Yes, I get it. As a business owner, running a dairy farm is nonstop and it is difficult to draw a dividing line that separates work life and personal life. Our lives are simply not a five-day, 8-5 job.


I do think it is important to ask one question that might grant you some work-life balance. “Can this wait until tomorrow?”


Often, as business owners, we are the ones that go above and beyond. We are the first ones to clock in and the last ones to clock out. Even when you come inside, work doesn’t stop. Calls come in; bookwork needs to be done. Where is that dividing line? While it is hard to establish, I encourage you all to find a way to push pause and to call it quits, even if it’s to attend your son’s middle school football game. I guarantee nobody will have regrets and that 12-year-old’s smile will remind you of the importance of finding balance.


LEAD BY EXAMPLE


Liz Griffith with Encore Consulting says producers should create their own work-life balance that employees can resonate with.


“Provide an open-door policy, allowing employees to communicate with you openly,” she says. “It is remarkable how many issues can be worked out if your staff feels free to have open discussions.”


Examples include:


  • Allow limited carry-over of PTO. As employers, we want our workers to take time off to rest and enjoy themselves with family or friends.

  • Offer flexible hours. The workday is no longer one-size-fits-all. Your employees want to attend their kid's soccer games occasionally.

  • Provide creative incentives. Family movie passes along with a Friday night off.

  • Provide the benefits they want and need. Not everyone needs health insurance, or many won’t take it. Consider alternatives such as gift cards for gas and oil changes or a beef steer/pay for processing, accounting or tax services.

  • Provide wellness initiatives. Free or partial membership to a health club or develop a wellness challenge like weight loss.

  • Organize team-building activities. Soccer, volleyball or softball teams.

  • Host a “bring your family to the farm day.” This event allows employees to show their families where they work and what they do. In addition, on-farm days can be a great educational experience for family members.


“In a world where job opportunities are endless, take the necessary steps to develop areas of work-life balance within your teams,” Griffith says. “Then, not only will you retain your current employees, but your business will have a reputation for encouraging a solid work-life balance, making you more attractive to future new hires.”


KAREN BOHNERT

August 26, 2022


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