4 Tips to Create Work-Life Balance With a Workaholic Boss

By Robert Half July 9, 2014 at 7:00am

You want to please your manager or the CFO, but it seems there just aren't enough hours in the day. You're afraid your workaholic boss and your never-ending workday will destroy your chances for work-life balance.

It’s an ideal situation when you find a supervisor who is a good fit with your personality. But having a positive relationship with management doesn't necessarily mean you have to embody all the same traits. On the contrary, some bosses possess characteristics best avoided. One example is the tendency to work long and arduous hours, even when working smart is the better alternative.

Workaholic bosses are complicated, because it seems like a good thing that they’re giving 100 percent all of the time. But it can also be detrimental to the office environment, the quality of work being done and the work-life balance of employees when they expect the same of you.

If you find yourself in a job wrought with workaholism, follow these four tips to remain a productive and effective employee:

1. Talk to your boss about work-life balance

While supervisors may think a 60-hour workweek is the best thing for them, it might be the absolute worst thing for you. There are plenty of tactful ways to explain this to even the most work-addicted managers. Let them know you’re more effective when you can get out of the office at a reasonable hour. Maybe you simply can't focus on work if you know you need to be home at a certain time to feed your kids, walk the dog or get to your spin class. If you're good at what you do, your boss will acknowledge that and will respect your approach.

2. Give yourself a break (or two)

Don’t wait for your manager to “let” you get up for a brief break every hour or so. If your boss is a workaholic, chances are that he or she isn’t taking many breaks. However, that doesn’t mean you should chain yourself to your desk as well. Stretch your limbs and get re-energized with a snack or a cup of tea. Stop to have a quick chat with a colleague, and you may find it gives you fresh perspective on an important project. If you give yourself mental and physical breaks throughout the day, you’ll be better able to focus on the tasks at hand.

3. Know the value of time off

Time off doesn't always have to mean two weeks on a tropical island. But chances are you've earned some vacation days, so ensure that you maintain a healthy work-life balance by requesting some time off. Even if you only take a day or two for a quick getaway, a break can leave you refreshed, recharged and more productive at work. If your boss doesn’t take vacation time, don’t follow his or her lead. You’ve earned those days and it’s your right to take them.

Stop to read How to Take Time Off and Unplug to Recharge Your Career.

4. Honor your time out of the office

It might be impossible for you to disconnect from your job completely, but you should protect your free time — especially if your workaholic boss tends to blur work-home boundaries. Never set a precedent that you’re available 24/7. If you can, shut your phone off after a certain hour at night. The 9-to-5 workday might be outmoded, but that doesn't mean you have to be the first person in and the last to leave. At the end of the day, it's all about achieving productivity while maintaining a positive work-life balance.

Next time you're in the job market, be sure to read this: Work-Life Balance: Can I Ask About It in a Job Interview?

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