Are you too connected? Five Simple Ways to Achieve Better Work-Life Balance

E02KDK_loAs summer comes to a close and families prepare for back-to-school, making work and life balance—while juggling job expectations and career aspirations, helping with homework or school projects, and attending extracurricular activities—can be a challenge. The growing role of technology in our daily lives can add to this struggle, as expectations for employees to always be connected can further blur the lines between work time and personal time.

In a new article published in HR People and Strategy, “5 Simple Ways to Help Your Team (and Self) Achieve Better Work-Life Balance,”  Kim Christfort, national managing director of the Deloitte Greenhouse Experience, says that many business leaders and workers fail to understand that 24-hour connectivity isn’t the best thing for well-being or productivity. Studies show that overworking employees can lead to decreased productivity, and even health issues.

Christfort provides five tips to carve out time for yourself and your family despite a demanding schedule, which may help those Business Chemistry types more prone to experience stress.

Business Chemistry Featured in Harvard Business Review Spotlight on the New Science of Teamwork

1417 MarApr17 Cover_CMYK.inddPioneers, Drivers, Integrators, and Guardians

Every team is a mix of these personality types. Here’s how to get the best out of any combination.

by Suzanne M. Johnson Vickberg and Kim Christfort

Published in Harvard Business Review, March/April, 2017

Organizations aren’t getting the performance they need from their teams. That’s the message we hear from many of our clients, who wrestle with complex challenges ranging from strategic planning to change management. But often, the fault doesn’t lie with the team members, our research suggests. Rather, it’s often leaders who fail to effectively tap diverse work styles and perspectives—even at the senior-most levels. Business Chemistry can help.

A first step is to identify the work styles of your team members and begin to consider how similarities and differences are beneficial or problematic. How many detail-oriented Guardians do you have versus big picture Pioneers? What’s the balance of competitive Drivers with consensus-oriented Integrators? How are these diverse styles complementing or conflicting with one another?

Next, it’s time to actively manage those similarities and differences. Read our full article in Harvard Business Review for more detail on these strategies for doing so.

  • Pull your opposites closer. Often, the biggest pain points are in one-on-one relationships, when opposite styles collide. By pulling your opposites closer—having them work together on small projects, and then bigger ones if it’s working out—you can begin to create complementary partnerships on your teams. It’s also important to pull your own opposites closer to you, to balance your tendencies as a leader.
  • Elevate the “tokens” on your team. When a team’s makeup is lopsided, cognitive bias can creep in, often leading to “cascades” or momentum that carries the team in the direction of the most common viewpoint. Your goal here should be to elevate minority perspectives on the team without turning others off. This way you can benefit from all the perspectives represented, not just those in the majority.
  • Pay close attention to your sensitive introverts. While a cascading team may lose out on contributions from any style that’s in the minority, members who are most introverted or sensitive can be at greatest risk of being drowned out. So that you don’t lose out on the unique strengths brought by these types, make an effort to understand how the team’s ways of working are supporting them to make their best contribution, or not.

Dr. Suz

Suzanne Vickberg, PhD (aka Dr. Suz)

Dr. Suz is the Greenhouse Team’s very own social-personality psychologist, which means she studies how people’s thoughts, behaviors and preferences are influenced by both who they are and the situations they’re in. She uses Business Chemistry to help teams explore how the mix of perspectives brought by their individual members influences their work together. Follow her on Twitter @DrSuzBizChem


This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.

About Deloitte

Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. Please see www.deloitte.com/about for a detailed description of DTTL and its member firms. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

Copyright © 2017 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.

Listen Now! Confessions Podcast Episode 3: “My Boss the Robot.”

promo_mybosstherobotIn the next episode of our Business Chemistry Confessions Podcast Series, “My Boss the Robot,” we explore one professional’s experience with her new boss and the mismatch between their working styles. The disconnects in day-to-day operations at her new job and brought her just days away from leaving the company.  But, a communication breakthrough leads to better understanding.

Listen today on your favorite device. 

available-on-itunes-logo  soundcloud-icon

New podcast series launched, Confessions. Episode 1: “The Monster that Harmony Made.”

confessions_squareWe are excited to announce our new podcast series, Confessions.  Hosted by Kim Christfort, National Managing Director of the Deloitte Greenhouse Experience, each episode explores true stories of workplace success and failure that all come down to one thing–Business Chemistry.

Learn how Business Chemistry can help you understand your own working style and how it’s similar to or different from others. Listen in as Kim talks with Suzanne Vickberg (Dr. Suz), Lead Researcher for Business Chemistry. Together, they’ll discuss techniques you can use to flex your style, improve your working relationships, and build stronger teams.

promo_monsterthatharmonymade“The monster that harmony made,” is our first episode and explores Betsy’s efforts to guide a team that’s enthusiastic about achieving project success, but whose desire for harmony creates one monstrous roadblock.  Can too many similar working styles hinder success? 

Listen today on your favorite device. 

available-on-itunes-logo  soundcloud-icon

What the Media Has to Say about Business Chemistry and Stress

us-broken-pot-plant

A couple of weeks ago Deloitte’s Business Chemistry team released our research on Business Chemistry & stress. It’s been really exciting to see it get picked up by the media and to observe which aspects of the research various outlets choose to focus on. People are really interested in this thing called stress. [We knew that. It’s why we’ve been studying it. :-)]

A sampling of the articles out there…

I should add as a proof-point of our own findings that I am a Guardian and a Dreamer, that we made a fair number of “mistakes”–not in the research itself, but in the process of getting it launched out into the world–and as a result I experienced quite a lot of stress along the way!

View our webcast: View our webcast “Stressed at work? It might be your working style”

Stressed at Work? Is it your Business Chemistry?

Stress. It may be one of the most talked about workplace topics of our time. Enter “workplace stress” into a search engine and you’ll find thousands and thousands of articles outlining what’s stressful, why it’s stressful, how to cope, and the consequences if we don’t. Increasingly, stress at work is acknowledged as an engagement-sapper, a productivity-stealer, and a dangerous health risk. But is everyone really that stressed out all the time? Do some people experience the workplace as more stressful than others? What strategies do people most often use to cope? In the past year, Deloitte’s Greenhouse Experience Team has embarked on a large-scale study of professionals to find out more.  Today, we release the findings on Deloitte.com–Business Chemistry’s Stress Study.

Through an online survey we asked people a series of questions about their stress levels, how stressful they find various workplace situations to be, how effective they are under stress, and how often they use a variety of coping strategies.

In addition to answering questions about stress, all respondents completed the Business Chemistry® assessment, enabling us to compare their responses to the stress questions with their Business Chemistry type. We found statistically significant differences between Business Chemistry types in several areas.

This research is a powerful first step for teams looking to improve working relationships, and ultimately, team performance during times of stress.

Let us know more about your experience with stress at work and your thoughts about our study.  Comment here or share your thoughts on Twitter, @DrSuzBizChem #stressstudy. Also, don’t forget to share this with your team and colleagues!

Read more about the study and our findings on Deloitte.com

For tips on what to do about stress on your team read Business Chemistry Do’s and Don’ts During Times of Stress

View our webcast “Stressed at work? It might be your working style”

Read more about our methodology

Dr. Suz
Suzanne Vickberg, PhD (aka Dr. Suz)
Dr. Suz is the Greenhouse Team’s very own social-personality psychologist, which means she studies how people’s thoughts, behaviors and preferences are influenced by both who they are and the situations they’re in. She uses Business Chemistry to help teams explore how the mix of perspectives brought by their individual members influences their work together. Follow her on Twitter @DrSuzBizChem

This publication contains general information only and Deloitte is not, by means of this publication, rendering accounting, business, financial, investment, legal, tax, or other professional advice or services. This publication is not a substitute for such professional advice or services, nor should it be used as a basis for any decision or action that may affect your business. Before making any decision or taking any action that may affect your business, you should consult a qualified professional advisor. Deloitte shall not be responsible for any loss sustained by any person who relies on this publication.

As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

Copyright © 2016 Deloitte Development LLC. All rights reserved.

Who are you when you’re stressed?

Who are you when you're stressed?Last week was really stressful for me. I’m in the midst of several writing projects at once, nothing I would recommend, and it seemed there was also a hurricane blowing, full of other responsibilities, inquiries, requests, and demands swirling around me. You probably know how that feels.

So what did I do? I hunkered down, and spent several hours organizing my calendar–obviously–one of the more Guardian-like tasks a person can engage in. Because that’s what I do when I’m stressed.

And how about you? When you’re stressed, what do you do? Do your typical behaviors intensify? Or do you tend to act a bit out of character? Do you think your Business Chemistry type changes? Or does it get more extreme? We’re often asked by our clients just these questions. So we set out to answer them.

We asked people to complete our Business Chemistry assessment while imagining they were under stress, and 111 people did just that. Specifically, we asked people to “respond to each item as if you’re in the midst of a very stressful time. You might think back to a specific stressful time you’ve actually experienced, imagine a stressful time, or just focus in on the feeling of being under stress in general.” We then compared people’s stressed results to their original Business Chemistry results, to see if they were different.

The majority of respondents (70 percent) indicated they had recalled a specific stressful time they’d actually experienced, while 23 percent thought about being under stress in general, and just 7 percent imagined a specific stressful experience. Most respondents indicated they were thinking about looming deadlines and time pressure, critical and high profile projects involving clients and/or leadership, the need for multi-tasking, and/or a heavy work-load. In other words, they were thinking about the typical day at work for most of us.

In short, we found no evidence that any of the Business Chemistry types intensify under stress, but we did find evidence of changes in people’s behaviors and preferences.

Continue reading “Who are you when you’re stressed?”