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A Plan for Stressed-Out Workaholics

Is juggling your work and home responsibilities getting tough? Worried about dropping the ball? You're not alone. More workers are worried that their jobs are interfering with personal needs. The message to workers is, start communicating your needs to your boss and schedule time for both work and family. The message for employers? Don't expect work responsibilities to supersede home life or you could be shooting yourself in the foot.

Balancing work and personal life is starting to catch up with other employment issues such as fair promotions, pay, and treatment by bosses as a major employee concern. In a recent survey, twice as many workers said they value having a job that doesn't interfere with personal life. They also give poor grades to their employers in that regard. That's according to human resources consultant Stephen A. Zimney and Cambridge Reports/Research International who updated a 1992 survey of employee concerns with more recent interviews.

The stress and conflict between home and work is creating an unhealthy environment at the workplace for many respondents in the survey. That's also bad news for some employers. According to Zimney, employers risk undermining worker morale and productivity by making it harder to take care of personal needs. Cooperation and teamwork is the way to go. Zimney says that employees don't want their bosses to be nannies, they just want leeway to take care of important things, i.e., to pick up the kids at school or go to the doctor.

    Here are some tips for balancing the juggling act:

    1 - Schedule the upcoming week on Sunday night. Go over each day's activity of dropping the kids at basketball practice, taking the cat to the vet, or meeting the dishwasher repairman at the house. Plan with your spouse, and decide who takes care of what.

    2 - Discuss the schedule with your employer as far as possible in advance. In an emergency, you need to get off work right away. But try to plan ahead so that routine matters don't become emergencies or surprise your boss. Negotiate how, when and where to meet your job responsibilities and tasks. Maybe a work meeting can be rescheduled, or a report done from home.

    3 - Be flexible and manage home and work creatively, by planning ahead. Managing your work and well-being successfully is a matter of partnership with your boss. If you are both committed to making it all work, and stay in frequent communication, you can get it all done in a way that supports both work and family.

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