Achieving balance at work is a critical concept in modern workplaces, where demands and responsibilities can often be overwhelming. Striking a healthy balance between work and other aspects of life can lead to increased productivity, job satisfaction, and overall well-being. Finding this balance requires a proactive and intentional approach that involves prioritization, effective time management, and boundary-setting, among other strategies.
BENEO wants to play a role in supporting work-life balance by fostering a culture that values and prioritizes employee well-being, offering flexible work arrangements, and providing resources and support for managing stress and achieving balance. Together with my colleague Gudrun Dold I teamed up to give you some insights in one of our recent initiatives that is supporting this goal.
At BENEO, we are driven by our core values Care, Improvement and Inspiration. With this in mind, we have launched a strategic initiative called Balance@BENEO. It is aimed to support individuals/colleagues in a state of feeling overwhelmed and at the same time fostering a healthier and more collaborative work environment. A diverse group of colleagues from various cultures, departments, and functions within BENEO have been working since several months together on first tangible outcomes. We are focused on developing tactics, processes, and a shift in mindset that helps to balance between external pressures and stress, and individual strategies for building resilience. Our long-term vision is to create an organization that is even more sensitive to the mental well-being of its employees and fosters a culture of support.
Concrete Work-Life Balance Initiatives of the Balance@BENEO team
Every journey begins with the first few steps. Improving our meeting culture is one of them. Effective meetings are critical to achieving organizational goals and fostering collaboration and innovation. However, meetings can often be a source of frustration and inefficiency when they are poorly planned or conducted. To help ensure that they are productive and meaningful, we established best practices that promote purpose-driven, respectful, and inclusive discussions, as well as efficient and effective decision-making.
Effective communication via email is a critical skill in today’s digital world, as it facilitates smooth and efficient exchanges of information between individuals and organizations. By improving our email communication, we can enhance the overall quality of our interactions, foster better relationships, and increase productivity in both personal and professional settings. We shared the key aspects of effective email communication and provided practical tips to help our colleagues excel in this essential skill.
To further support those work-life balance initiatives, we have created an internal website for our employees featuring details on our main subjects, as well as handy ‘tips & tricks’, and information on our team composition. As an evolving platform, it will also host testimonials and other relevant content in the future.
In the bustling world of corporate life, where the buzz of meetings often dominates the workweek, BENEO is pioneering a refreshing initiative – Focus Friday. It is about a day with no or less internal meetings to create a canvas for concentrated work, creativity and learning. BENEO’s Focus Friday was proposed by the Balance@BENEO team and highly supported by BENEO’s board, senior leadership team and employees across all our locations. Picture this: a day where the calendar is intentionally cleared of internal meetings, offering space for deep work, high priority tasks, debriefing and preparing past respectively upcoming meetings or using it as an open day to be approachable for your colleagues or team members. Of course, when implementing the concept of Focus Friday, the work reality of various departments has been considered.
We collected opinions of colleagues about the perception of Balance@BENEO and spoke about their personal motivation to support this work-life balance initiatives.
“Why am I part of the Balance@BENEO project team?Inga Heinemann, Head of Corporate Communication
Being a member for the Balance@BENEO feels very satisfying to me. Because you can see that the BENEO people do appreciate the work and the initiative. It does make a difference to them and within the organisation. Also working in a diverse team to create a better Balance@BENEO brings joy and balance to myself.”
“I am part of the Balance@BENEO team because creating conditions and promoting a better work-life balance is a very concrete way to live our value Care.Marc-Etienne Denis, Commercial Managing Director Rice Ingredients
Having Focus Friday implemented in my team is a constant reminder for all of us to think twice before accepting a meeting and to safeguard time for preparatory work, reading, training as well as giving priority to one-to-one direct exchanges with colleagues.”
“What does Balance@BENEO mean to me?Eileen Rajczyk, Administration Manager
A good balance for me is where you don’t only work with your colleagues, but you spend time away from your desk as friends!
Having a potluck celebration for Thanksgiving was the perfect way to celebrate and get together!
To have a good balance in your life, you need to have a job you love and be sure to take the time to enjoy your family and friends!”
“To me, Balance@BENEO represents the collective commitment of the company to nurturing a workplace that prioritizes well-being and work harmony, in line with the BENEO core values. It’s about creating an environment where everyone feels valued and supported, enabling us to deliver our best work in the best condition and mood.
Since implementing Focus Friday, I’ve noticed a significant improvement in my productivity, concentration and motivation with minimized disruptions. Having a full day dedicated to focus is really helping a lot. It gives me space to work on challenging topics, being completely at my tasks and also, this special day allows me to take the time to learn and train myself to improve my skills in my domain of expertise. As it happens on Friday’s, I’ve now the feeling that I have reached the weekend with a taste of accomplishment.”Laurent Lesage, IT Business Coordinator
“In today’s VUCA world (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity), pressure on the individual is constantly increasing and there is a need to be alert to what does this mean to people and the organization.Liv Janvary, Project Manager New Business Development
Care is a core value of BENEO and supporting Balance@BENEO is an important element. Within the team this is tackled from different directions not only considering measures to reduce pressure but also supporting individuals in strengthening their resilience and better coping with stressful situations.
Since launching first initiatives within Balance@BENEO the feedback from colleagues has been very positive and it motivates the team and myself to continue working on further initiatives.”
Besides the ongoing initiatives, the Balance@BENEO team works on further steps both to support individual colleagues in building resilience as well as to challenge organizational frameworks and providing concepts and ideas to become a more sensitive organization to the well-being of our employees. It underscores the commitment to foster a work environment that is not only productive but also enriching and fulfilling for every member of our team.