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Running Your Business Smarter
-- Maintaining a Life and Work Balance

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Meet Sal Greco. He once worked as a humor consultant, making his living by helping companies find stuff to laugh about. His premise was that fun and games as part of work made for happier, more productive employees.

Experts agree it's important to have a happy workplace. People who are lighthearted, having fun and are in good spirits are more likely to be successful. A positive mental attitude triggers physiological changes that enable employees to think more clearly and creatively. They're more relaxed, spontaneous, accepting of others and more likely to share their sense of humor.

Hard to hold.

How happy are the people who work for you? Do you treat them well and provide an enjoyable environment? If not, they may come to realize that better opportunities exist elsewhere - and leave you with a gaping hole in your workforce. When a valuable employee leaves, the cost to your company is immeasurable. You may be losing a productive team player with a positive attitude. Or chasing away someone with innovative ideas that could have helped grow your business.

Central perks.

Of course, great perks don't necessarily make an employee stay or leave a business. But, experts say, happier employees are usually more productive and more willing to go the extra mile. One company offers free soda and juice drinks. Others offer in-house day care and free car washes. At a small insurance agency in Idaho, the staff plays ongoing games that revolve around their job descriptions. This makes coming to work both fun and personally profitable, since they win shopping mall gift certificates.

Do-It-Yourself benefits.

Over the past few years, flexible benefits have become a major perk at many companies. For example, maybe your spouse has better health insurance than you do. So you decline your personal health benefit in favor of, say, a better vision or dental plan.

Perfect balance.

Once in a while, it's important to take time to regroup and refresh. Lori Rosen, an Illinois attorney and workplace analyst, says that many employers are offering flextime off or a set number of days that are available for their employees' use. To keep employees happy, healthy and reduce turnover, companies of all sizes are respecting their staffers' needs for a balance between their work and personal lives - they're even establishing programs that focus on that balance.

Having fun yet?

Ask your employees what ideas they have to make the workplace more fun. Your employees will enjoy and benefit from the fun they have at work and will not let the fun interfere with their productivity.

Maintaining your own balance

Business owners work long hours. That goes with the job. However, it's important to
maintain a balance. Lonnie Pacelli, president of Leading on the Edge International
(www.leadingonedge.com) and author of a book on work-life balance, provides these tips.

  • Consciously and honestly decide what?s really important. Establish priorities. Then work toward eliminating the gap between what you desire and what you do.
  • Make your calendar a life thing, not just a work thing. Integrate important personal activities into it.
  • Measure success in results, not hours. This can help you find better ways to do things, prioritize your work and get home in time for dinner.
  • Don't succumb to peer pressure. Just because your friends may work 18-hour days doesn't mean you have to. Stay focused on meaningful results.
  • Don't take on too much in your personal life. You don't have to cram a million things into your time away from the company.

The article you read was prepared for general information purposes by McMurry. These articles are for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. PNC urges its customers to do independent research and to consult with financial and legal professionals before making any financial decisions.These articles may provide reference to Internet sites as a convenience to our readers. While PNC endeavors to provide resources that are reputable and safe, we cannot be held responsible for the information, products, or services obtained on such sites and will not be liable for any damages arising from your access to such sites. The content, accuracy, opinions expressed, and links provided by these resources are not investigated, verified, monitored or endorsed by PNC.