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  • Anupa Joaquim, Senior Manager, Talent Acquisition​

The Most Important Facets of Company Culture – Work Environment and Work-Life Balance

The remote policies or back-to-work phenomenon post-COVID has opened a pandora's box worldwide. The primary conversation of discussion is around Company culture, the dos, and don'ts, and in some cases, how it is troubling employees or leading to mental health issues. Many companies in the yesteryears or even today in select industries believe in the push-hard method. They feel stress, escalated expectations, and pressure induce performance and increase productivity, but it can have a long-term impact on the employee and the overall well-being of company culture.

Work Environment and Work-Life Balance

Cultivating a positive work environment in the workplace pays tremendous intangible dividends that boost the company's bottom line and enable individuals and teams to work in a positive and stress-free manner. When people are free from constant stress, they can apply their skills better, irrespective of how difficult the situation is. It leads to higher productivity and a better work-life balance for the employees, having a sense of drive for the company's betterment. It tends to assert each employee's value, dignity, and worth that benefits both the individual and the company.

Why does the positive work environment matter so much today?

The significance of a positive and conducive work environment cannot be overstated. A positive work environment leads to lower levels of stress amongst individuals. According to the American Psychological Association, workplace stress results in losses of USD 500 billion in the United States of America's economy. In addition to this, a negative work environment and the resultant stress led to more than 550 million workdays being lost per annum. Workplace stress results in accidents and lower productivity, but it has also been linked with a wide gamut of ailments, ranging from metabolic syndrome to cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, the importance of a healthy work environment is something every company and its leaders must be mindful of.

Working within teams

Just as every cog in a machine is instrumental to its functioning and final output, every member of a particular team is pivotal to its efficiency. Establishing coordination and camaraderie amongst team members can be a daunting prospect, particularly considering the varied natures of individuals who constitute a team and their diverse working styles. This can easily give rise to friction and conflict, which, in turn, can lead to stress.

To reduce the possibility of friction within a team, the team leader has a critical role to play. By ensuring that every team member has clarity on their respective tasks and establishing the required lines of communication, a lot of potential conflicts can be nipped in the bud. Leaders should lead by example and be open to addressing the challenges faced by their team instead of writing them off or procrastinating them.

Comfort at the workplace

Individuals spend a sizable proportion of their lives at their respective workplaces, which is why the state of the workplace environment has a considerable impact on their physical and mental health and well-being alike. A high-stress and highly competitive work environment have been linked with employee disengagement, which carries several costs.

According to Queen's School of Business and Gallup company, people disengaged from their workplace and environment engage in 37% higher absenteeism than average. Disengagement from work has also been linked to a 49% higher incidence of accidents at the workplace and an 18% lower productivity. It is, therefore, critical for companies to ensure a positive work environment and encourage employee engagement.

Why is work-life balance important?

Although your work is an integral part of your life, it is still merely a part of your life and not its entirety. In a world driven by cut-throat competition, it is easy to fall into the trap of workaholism and ignore the significance of work-life balance. The excess of anything is counterproductive and excessive attention to work at the cost of your personal life and rest can be extremely dangerous for your health. According to Chris Chancey, CEO at Amplio Recruiting, work-life balance results in lower levels of stress amongst individuals and a higher sense of well-being.

As important as it is to be enthusiastic about your work, you must be mindful of the severe consequences of burnout and neglect of work-life balance. Work and life coexist, and neither is more or less important than the other. If you consistently prioritize one over the other, you could have serious physical, mental, and emotional ailments, primarily caused by stress and burnout.

Strategies for attaining work-life balance

Establishing a work-life balance may seem like an uphill task, but it can be pretty straightforward. The key is following a strict yet precise strategy of compartmentalization. When you are at work, try to keep the worries of your personal life at bay. Likewise, once you are away from work, you must not constantly keep thinking about that important meeting the following day, that client email expected in the next week, or that feedback you are due to receive from your teammates or managers soon.

Here are some simple yet effective strategies to attain and, most importantly, maintain (it's an ongoing endeavor) a work-life balance.

  1. Accept a job you love, and if you cannot, pursue a path that leads you to it.

  2. Create a schedule and try to adhere to it.

  3. Stay flexible about changes to your schedule and be mindful that it does not always lean towards your work.

  4. Always prioritize your health! Take a day (or two off) when necessary. Do not ignore the signals your mind and body send your way. Treat them with as much, if not more, attention as those essential client emails.

  5. Be available for things that you love! Paint, do yoga, listen to music, go for a walk, watch the night sky - whatever gives you peace and contentment.

What is considered to be a good work-life balance?

There is no such thing as a perfect work-life balance. Even if you succeed in attaining a good work-life balance, you have to keep at the task consistently. You may win the battle, but the war is long, i.e., as long as your life. It is, therefore, essential to be flexible in your outlook towards and pursuit of a work-life balance. If you push yourself too hard to do a million different things, then the very point of unwinding from work gets lost.

Remember that your identity and existence are not entirely defined by your work or your success or failure to be a Master of Work-life balance. In this context, renowned company psychologist Adam Grant has wisely remarked, "For several generations, we've organized our lives around our work. Our jobs have determined where we make our homes when we see our families and what we can squeeze in during our downtime. It might be time to start planning our work around our lives." There is perhaps no more excellent nor more uncomplicated advice on work-life balance.

Extentia is very mindful of its company culture. We create company culture norms keeping all parties involved in mind; we include ways and means for each of us to upgrade our physical and mental well-being. We avail facilities for employees to talk to an expert if there's stress or a need to address mental health issues. We continuously realign ourselves to the company culture goals and create an environment where employees can do the same. At the core of Extentia lies a belief that everyone attached to Extentia should be on the path to advancement. Our careful and initiative-taking efforts in maintaining a positive work environment and enabling work-life balance for everyone are reaping beautiful results for the company and the employees likewise.

Read other Extentia Blog posts here!

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