How to Achieve Work-Life Balance in a Creative Agency
Read time: 10 minutes
If you work at a creative agency and worry you’ll never be able to date, get a dog, go to the gym, or eat anything other than cold noodles until you retire or quit, you’re not alone.
These days, it seems like most people – especially in the business of creative – are afraid to even talk about “work-life balance”.The best thing we’re supposed to hope for is some kind of “work-life blend”, which means we can do things like having children, as long as we bring them to the office and get them to work overtime.
That sort of thing might be alright for some people, but I still like the idea of balance. Call me old-fashioned.
If your agency is balanced, it’s sustainable. You have less turnover and burnout. Your people are relaxed, and when they’re relaxed, they’re creative.
“Well, that’s nice,” you might say. “Too bad it’s impossible.”
It isn’t, though. I’ve worked for some great companies, and I can honestly say the team here at Function Point is both the most balanced and the most productive I’ve seen.
Understanding Work-Life Balance
The term “work-life balance” refers to the positive interplay between work and personal life. Staff are given the freedom to balance their personal and professional lives as they see fit. For creative agencies, this means giving your team members the support and flexibility they need to pursue their personal objectives while also maintaining or improving their levels of productivity at work.
Your creative agency can gain from promoting a positive work-life balance culture in the following ways:
Your staff will be more productive when there is a balance between work and personal life. This balance helps broaden their perspectives, energizes them, and increases their interest. When you have a motivated staff member, their optimistic attitude will have a favorable impact on the entire team, driving better production.
It’s common for agencies to find their team members suffering from burnout. Staff who are burned out find it difficult to concentrate and operate well. Workflows become clogged by excessive tension and tiredness, and your teammates will start missing deadlines or working considerably more slowly. If employees believe there is no support system for a healthy work-life balance, those who are burned out are more inclined to leave their jobs. This burnout issue can be minimized if you encourage a work-life balance lifestyle among employees.
High Staff Morale
When work environments do not support work-life balance, you may notice a greater percentage of employee turnover. To raise employee morale, it is crucial to understand their needs and wishes from a human perspective, and cater to them. Because happy and contented staff are more likely to collaborate with one another as a cohesive team, your creative firm will undoubtedly reap the benefits. They’ll be more devoted to your business and work harder as a result.
Retain Top Talent
When staff are happy and consent with their job, they are more loyal to you. A low turnover rate indicates that your business will be profitable. Instead of putting money aside and spending efforts for constant recruitment, you can use the resources to offer incentives and benefits for your current creative professionals. Without a work-life balance, though, you risk losing top talent to competitors that support it.
Adapt Your Business to Seasonal Peaks
It can be tempting to put pressure on your creative team during high client demand for your services. However, when you acknowledge your staff’s desire for a work-life balance, you can achieve even greater. Because employees’ moods can affect their creativity for a given project, maintaining a healthy working environment is crucial for your staff to handle seasonal peaks and troughs in your firm.
Our brains’ ability to process information is significantly impacted by low mood. Therefore, you need people who are enthusiastic about their work if you want your creative firm to produce excellent results. Once you’ve made sure that your staff members have a respectable work-life balance, this will be feasible.
How To Achieve Work-Life Balance
Here’s some of our best advice about how to achieve something similar:
Understand That “Balance” Can Take Different Forms
Balance is about making time for what’s most important to you. For some people, work is the only important thing, and for them, maybe it feels awesome to do nothing but work and sleep, but if you refuse to hire anyone else, you miss out on a whole spectrum of brilliance facilitated by exposure to the outside world.
So, while you might treasure the odd workophile who lives happily at the office, it pays to make room for those who train for marathons, practice piano, collect old vacuums, and/or nurture their friendships. Maybe some of them need to come in at 7 am and leave at 3:30, while others might take an extended lunch hour and leave late. You might spend fewer hours on projects, but the time you do spend will be more inspired.
Think About Your Priorities
Eliminating pointless obligations is one way to improve your work-life balance. Although you might believe so, not everything in your life is truly vital. Examine your priorities to see which ones have the most meaning to you. To maintain a healthy work-life balance, ask yourself which commitments make you feel tired, and which ones make you feel energized. When you take stock of your priorities and identify what matters, you can decide what to say “yes” to and what to say “no” to.
Abandon the Fantasy of Doing Everything At Once
Unfortunately, making time for what’s most important usually means letting go of other things. I’ll admit to having trouble with this one. I still secretly want to be a millionaire/ballerina/wife/mother/model/philanthropist/Nobel prize-winning author, but I also know how unrealistic that is, and not just because I’m 30 and have untended cuticles. I can only properly commit myself to four things: work, writing, fitness, and a few important relationships. That’s it.
For my colleagues, the priorities are different, but what’s common is the understanding that our ability to commit ourselves is finite. So, for Jehanne, balance means prioritizing work, friends, and education, and making peace with the fact that fitness has to take a backseat. For Karen, it means combining Function Point with friends, music, exercise, and freelance design, while relinquishing a tendency towards perfectionism.
For creative agencies, the balance often means severing ties with clients and projects that aren’t serving them. Productivity software comes in really handy here, because it shows you where your work is yielding benefits, and where your clients suck you dry.
Achieve Work-Life Balance Through Efficient Resource Management
Learn how to balance workloads effectively to maintain high productivity and prevent burnout
Productivity software also enables work-life balance by improving collaboration and minimizing regret work. Instead of rooting around for information, you’re developing concepts. Instead of wondering what the heck’s expected of you, you’re tackling your to-do list. Instead of promising more than you can deliver, you’re allocating available resources. That means spending less time wallowing in frustration, and more time playing Grand Theft Auto and practicing your tap dance routine.
The movement towards abandoning balance comes from the idea that our work would have to suffer if we insisted on it. It doesn’t. If you clarify what’s most important to you, let go of what isn’t, and implement an efficient workflow, you can achieve excellence and balance, even in a creative business.
I’m not saying it’ll be perfect. I should probably confess to having written much of this post at 7:30 am in a mall food court while scarfing Starbucks oatmeal from a paper cup. I didn’t mind doing it, though, because, at that hour on most mornings, my time is my own.
Make Work Schedules Flexible
Employees should be welcome to take time off whenever they need to catch a breath. Especially when working on a project that calls for long hours or when feeling overburdened by work-related stress, this can be extremely beneficial.
Your creative team members can live their personal lives to the fullest while still earning a living if they have paid time off. They will benefit from a break every now and then so they can relax and refresh themselves. Your agency can continue the daily production without interruption as long as you do thorough planning and have backups from other teammates.
Organize your Workload
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance depends greatly on job happiness. For creatives, it’s critical that you speak with your direct supervisor to establish the proper expectations. Raise it up if you have a heavy workload and are struggling to handle it. If your manager is unable to assist you in finding answers and striking a balance, it could be time to look for a new career.
Keeping a positive attitude and impressing your managers by checking off a big to-do list is one thing. However, it’s quite another thing if your company overlooks your well-being and health or if the quantity of work continuously takes up your free time.
Time Limits for Employees
For agency leaders, it’s crucial to establish boundaries with your clients so that your creative members can leave their desks without feeling guilty. Your staff shouldn’t feel the need to constantly check their emails while at home.
Instead, foster a flexible work environment allowing team members to take calls from home only when absolutely necessary. Knowing that unrealistic availability is not expected will give everyone on your team peace of mind.
Allow the Workers to Communicate Their Needs to You
It’s best to ask your staff what they need rather than assume what they could require. Listen to your members’ needs to develop a culture of trust and open communication.
To learn more about why people are satisfied or dissatisfied with their jobs, conduct an employee survey. The insights from the survey will help you recognize any concerns and come up with plans to address them and enhance work-life balance among your team.
Use Effective Methods for Managing Stress
Stress is inevitable; the difference is in how you handle it. You can manage this problem by using healthy stress-relieving approaches. Reduce stress by practicing yoga, meditation, and physical and breathing exercises. Talking to a counselor might be a good idea. Even little problems can become major ones if you have a demanding, stressful job. Never be reluctant to seek assistance.
A balanced existence involves more than just striking a balance between your workload and personal life. In addition to clearly defining boundaries between work and pleasure, it’s critical to consider your physical and emotional health. Conscious practices like eating at regular times, drinking enough water, and getting enough sleep are crucial to your general well-being. And as a result, the “life” part of the work-life equation becomes more balanced.