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What qualities determine your professionalism in the workplace?

Dressing in a professional manner?

Arriving at work on time every day?

Completing your projects within a reasonable time frame?

Not taking personal phone calls where the whole office can hear you?

Whatever you think of when you hear the term professionalism in the workplace, the truth is that it begins at home. If you are not getting enough sleep or enough exercise, or if you are not eating right, then your professional presence may be suffering.

If you can barely find a somewhat clean and unwrinkled shirt and your car keys before it is time to arrive at the office, then that may cause a lack of professionalism in the workplace, at least in terms of how you appear to your coworkers and supervisors.

If you have young children and are having difficulty with your childcare situation, with your child getting sick, or with a spouse who is not helping out enough with the children or the house, then it might feel like you are coming apart at the seams.

As a manager, you might have felt this way yourself at some point in your career, or you might currently be experiencing problems with work life balance. Regardless of your own situation, you have certainly witnessed some of these issues with the employees you manage, whether or not you know the explanations behind lapses in professionalism in the workplace. Fortunately, there are some easy ways that you can help your employees to improve their performance.

Tips to Encourage Work-Life Balance

1. Cut your employees (and yourself) some slack.

Everyone sometimes has one of those days when lost car keys or a blowout diaper or a flat tire or a temper tantrum prevents him or her from leaving the house on time. If you are noticing a pattern with a certain employee, then it is appropriate to express concern for your employee and brainstorm solutions rather than immediately taking a hard line and threatening consequences.

2. Allow flexibility.

If your division within your company within your industry allows it, then be flexible about letting your employees choose their own break times to answer an emergency phone call from the babysitter or grab an emergency pick-me-up from the Coke machine. Don’t sweat a 15-minute late arrival as long as that employee is making up that time. Your employees will be able to maintain work-life balance more effectively without being micromanaged.

3. Be a role model.

Nobody has it all figured out, but you can serve as an example to your employees of how you balance the responsibilities of home and office while still maintaining professional presence. By being real and sharing your tips, you can help support and inspire employees who are struggling.

Professionalism in the Workplace Starts at Home

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