Striking a balance between one’s home life and a fast-paced career is one of the pillars of achieving success and attaining happiness. Yet, according to Nicolas Krafft, mastering a fulfilling work-life balance is one of the biggest challenges faced by today’s workforce. This year in particular has made that clearer than ever before. As the COVID-19 pandemic has confined people to their homes and forced most jobs to be worked from the confines of our houses, people are deliberately focusing on striking that balance between work and home as both now share the same roof.
Most people, if not all, could benefit from a better work-life balance and Nicolas Krafft, a former L’Oreal executive, knows this. Nicolas has spent a large portion of his career traveling, which has forced him to find balance between a demanding career and a personal life.
What is Work-Life Balance?
Nicolas Krafft’s career has taken him around the globe and back countless times, often for extended periods of time. This extensive travel schedule, coupled with demanding business responsibilities, is what required Nicolas to be productive and forced the former L’Oreal executive to work on striking a healthy work-life. In short, a work-life balance is the ability to balance work and life so that neither is neglected and both receive the attention necessary to be successful long-term. It could also apply to one’s life outside of the office on work trips.
A balanced work-life balance is not only fundamental to one’s well-being and happiness, but also to overall career success. According to Krafft, a good work-life balance enables one to take a step back and see the bigger picture. In order to free his mind and recharge, Krafft would turn to running and climbing, which would clear his mind and allow him to see through dense issues in a much simpler, refreshed way. During his extensive business travels, he would make sure to carve out some time for local activities such as shopping at a market on his own or informally with some members of his team. This, according to Krafft, enabled him to satisfy his own curiosity as well as develop a sense of the local culture that ultimately drove business decisions. Striking a work-life balance and allowing space for activities and conversations outside of the purview of work, even with coworkers, will undeniably allow for a fresher mind and a sharper perspective, both of which will directly and positively impact one’s work.
Striking a work-life balance can indeed mean putting up boundaries and leaving work at work, but it can also mean melding work and life together in a way that breeds positive outcomes instead of negative outcomes.
The Detriments of Bad Work-Life Balance
There are several things that can lead to an unhealthy work-life balance. Some of the most common are longer working hours, assuming conflicting roles, balancing conflicting objectives, and not spending enough time with family and friends. Nicolas Krafft believes that having a clear understanding of how a company can positively impact the lives of its employees and customers is imperative to manage such situations, as is understanding how your focus on work is affecting your well-being and your family.
Nicolas Krafft adds that there are several reasons why companies have increasingly begun to prioritize a more sound balance between work and home demands for their staff. They have realized that a healthy work-life balance leads to fewer health problems, enhanced engagement among their teams, high productivity, and an increased sense of mindfulness and pride in their employee’s work.
How to Establish Work-Life Balance
Nicolas Krafft shares that he has established routines that enable him to maintain a strong work-life balance. His routine includes adjusting his flight schedules so that he can sleep on the plane, exercising during his trips, and not working on the plane. He also makes sure to prioritize spending as much time as possible with his family, something he deems as crucial. He takes steps toward reducing the length of his trips and works to schedule video conferences for follow ups whenever possible to avoid weekend travel.
Work-life balance in 2020 is obviously much different than it was in 2019. We are working from home, we’re not travelling, and we’re not sharing space with people who are not our family. But while striking a work-life balance this year doesn’t require us to work around a busy travel schedule, it does require us to navigate an unknown entity: a global pandemic. The stage is different this year, but the stakes are just as high.
Working from home and separated from your core work group means that the team needs to be able to set boundaries and expectations so the company mission isn’t lost and the work continues unabated. Working from home also requires us to work towards a work-life balance, but from a different angle. Now that we are all working from home it has become increasingly hard to “leave work at work”. Our work is now accessible to us 24 hours a day, seven days a week, which makes it that much easier to work later hours and weekends. A separation must be struck so that work doesn’t overtake our home life. Working and living in the same space can be beneficial but we need to make sure we leave work behind when the day ends and give ourselves the time to decompress and experience our home lives.
Overall, establishing a flexible and clear work environment can be one of the most effective means by which work-life balance can be struck. Not only will this lead to greater job satisfaction, but it will also decrease stress, help team members establish and maintain healthy habits, and increase engagement.
During unprecedented times like the ones we currently find ourselves in, flexible work hours and an ability to work from home enable a more satisfying work experience overall. Ultimately, ensuring that a team has the resources in place to strike an effective balance between personal and professional demands will lead to increased loyalty and retention. This doesn’t come without its possible determinants, though.
This year has thrown all norms out the window, and that includes the normal definition of work-life balance. We now work where we live. Can we separate the two and allow for continued productivity? A balance must be struck, but it is possible.
About Nicolas Krafft
Nicolas Krafft is a former L’Oreal executive with more than a decade of expertise in the cosmetics industry. He began his career as a product manager at L’Oreal Professional and subsequently moved up through the ranks to become vice president of Global Business Development for L’Oreal USA, leading the go-to-market strategy of one of the strategic brands of the professional division. Based in NYC, Krafft oversaw the transformation of its business model across Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Latin America. Krafft ultimately became the international general manager for the Pulp Riot brand. He worked on launching new product lines, growing market share, and developing an international presence for L’Oreal-owned brands like Kérastase, Matrix, and Biolage.