14 Jun 18

Facing procurement’s never-ending demands with a happy work-life balance

Facing procurement’s never-ending demands with a happy work-life balance

Procurement is forever torn between suppliers and stakeholders. Dedicated professionals feel they need to understand and be in touch with both tribes. If you work for a global business, with a global supply chain, then there is always someone, somewhere, who is awake and working before you log on and after you log off. There is always one more email you could send, one more call you could make. But there has to be a time to stop.

For a start, working more hours offers diminishing returns. Output falls sharply after a 50-hour working week and falls off a cliff after 55 hours, so much so that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours, according to a study published last year by John Pencavel of Stanford University.

So, how can procurement professionals get a better balance between the constant demands of their working life and a life of family, friends, fun, leisure and good health? At State of Flux, we think sustainable procurement is about getting that balance right. Our managing director for North America, Molly Louthan, is member of the Women for Supply Chain networking group, part of the Foundation for Strategic Sourcing. Working with the group, she has developed and shared ten tips for achieving a better work-life balance in procurement.

Now we’re sharing them with you…

1. Let’s start with priorities. You’ve only got one life and to you, it’s a hundred times more valuable to you than any company. There are millions of companies; there is only one you.

2. Appreciate yourself. Walk in every day thinking “this place is lucky to have me” not “I am lucky to have this place”.

3. The hardest working person always gets more work to do. But don’t confuse that with a pat on the back; it is just them getting on top of their work-life balance at the expense of yours.

4. If you find yourself consistently working more than 40 hours in a week, you need to ask for more resources. This is the most common problem many new leaders experience. They fear asking for more resources is a sign of failure. It is not. It is a sign of leadership.

5. There is a breaking point past 40 hours in a week. It is harder ask for help, and manage that help, after that point. You can’t adequately train another person while you’re drowning in your own work.

6. Plan your vacations around what you need, not what fits into your work schedule. None of us are so important that we can’t take a vacation when we want to.  And if you plan your vacations 2-3 months in advance, it is easier to find people to cover for you.

7. A vacation is the time when you don’t work. At all. No working! Have someone on your team cover for you. If they can’t handle something while you are out, you have hired the wrong people. If your people aren’t strong enough, have your boss cover. If your boss can’t cover you, you are at the wrong company.

8. If you are supposed to work 40 hours a week and you end up working 60, ask for more days off to make up for it.

9. Your calendar is your calendar. Block time on it for you to get your own work done. People will take up all your time if they see free space. Don’t let them book meetings or other demands on your time when you need to work. Block off however many hours a day you need to get your work done, so that you don’t work late every night.

10. Finally, please, please know what you are working for. Is it to be CEO? To retire at 55? Is it to never miss your kid's soccer games? Is it to make a million dollars a year?  Everyone’s answer is different, and it can change every year, but work for the sake of work is pointless and will leave you feeling empty. Making decision about why you are working will help guide you to a better work-life balance.

Take part in our 2018 global Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) research. This year the theme is Sustainable SRM: how to make SRM Sustainable (or 'industrialised') in your organisation; and how SRM can drive sustainability in your suppliers and supply chain.

Take part now and receive your free benchmark!

Complete the survey