If you are like most business owners, you crave independence. You are likely one of the business owners who work 60, 70, and even 80 hours a week on their businesses and feel like they are neglecting their personal and home lives in the process. You know that working such long hours with little time for yourself isn't sustainable or even beneficial to your businesses' growth and development. So, you seek out the help of a business coach or mentor for answers. And over time, you begin to work towards building a business that can run independently of you. But often times there is a disconnect between you as the owner and your team members and company culture

I have spoken with many business owners who seek independence and fewer hours yet expect the exact opposite from their own employees and then wonder why they have trouble keeping quality team members on their staff. 

Think about your own company culture for a moment. 

  • Do you expect your employees to work overtime or stay late most nights?

  • Do you expect them to answer emails or texts from you or your managers no matter what time of day?

  • Do you expect them to be on call should a problem arise on the weekend or after hours?

While some jobs, like first-responders, for example, will require such a level of dedication, chances are that the majority of those reading this article don't really need immediate access to their team members 24-7. Nor should they want it.

So when creating a company culture that will allow you, the business owner, freedom to step away from your business to find a healthy life balance, it is important that you extend the same to your team members.

Just Say No to the "Always On" Culture

It is so easy to be available 24-7. You have a phone in your pocket complete with email, text, Slack, Asana...whatever your medium of choice. But this "always on" mentality isn't efficient and can lead your employees (and yourself) to burnout. It can also lead to high employee turnover as they begin to feel as if they are losing their own personal and home life and independence. Your employees' families will begin to develop resentment and pass that resentment on to your employees. It's a vicious cycle. 

Practice What You Preach

The best solution is to practice what you preach. Make it a point to leave the office in time for dinner, and encourage your staff to do the same. Make it known company-wide that you value and respect their personal time and want everyone to be home in time for dinner. Avoid sending and answering emails after hours, and, if possible, turn your phone off completely during the evening hours. Not only will this help you create a healthy work-life balance, it will model the right behavior for your own team members. 

Company culture is something that is shaped and molded over time. So I'd encourage you to look at your own business--look at your messaging practices and your team's. Are you and your staff Always On? And how is that affecting your business? How can you change things for the better?

Published on: Jul 9, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.