Architecture is a deeply rewarding field, but it can also come with long hours and high stress. Deadlines are a top priority, and this can create significant pressure. Knowing this, many architectural firms are trying to reemphasize the “life” side of work-life balance. Employees right now expect a level of harmony between their professional lives and the rest of their lives. Here are some ways companies can improve work-life balance in the architecture field.
Make Work Fun Again
There are many ways to make the workplace more fun. Some prominent companies have gym breaks during the day, some have ping-pong tables in the office, and some bring in food. We all know that major tech companies like Google do this, but increasingly so are architectural firms. While it might seem this would decrease productivity, it often has the opposite effect. It is important to choose activities that decrease stress and increase focus. This will help employees perform their work better. Activities that promote wellness are especially useful, such as yoga and meditation. Working through the day without having time to relax and refocus attention is problematic. It’s been shown that most people won’t be able to keep their focus up consistently for more than an hour or so.
Create More Flexibility
While deadlines are important, so is flexibility. Allowing employees to choose how and when they perform tasks instead of pushing set schedules will give employees a better sense of autonomy and a better sense of work-life balance. The key is to control for distraction. If the employees are motivated and focused, this added flexibility will usually create a more productive, fast-paced work environment as well as happy employees!
Ask Questions and Understand the Individual
There really isn’t a one-size-fits all approach to work-life balance. Each employee has unique needs. While firm level initiatives work very well, a good manager need to look deeper. You don’t necessarily know what goes on in an employee’s life once they leave the office. They could have a sick parent they’re tending to. They could be a single parent raising three kids on their own. Others might have very little responsibilities outside of work. Every situation is different. Stress is often visible, so a good leader will often sense when work-life balance is off. When issues arise, you want to ask questions quickly, but also privately. Ask what they need to reduce stress and improve work-life balance. You don’t want to invade their privacy, but you do want to find a way to help.
Work-life balance is an important to ensuring that an architectural firm is productive, while preventing employees from becoming overwhelmed or overly stressed. When employees become too stressed, they make more mistakes. It is better to prevent stress from becoming a chronic problem. They key is making the work environment more relaxing and giving employees more control over their work.
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