Written by 6:00 am Feature, Service Strategy

Achieving Work-Life Balance in the Fast-Paced Service Industry: Practical Lessons for Leaders

Aquant recently spoke with Lacey Gigante, Director of Post-Market Surveillance at Integra Life Sciences about how to achieve work-life balance in the service industry.

Recently, Aquant spoke with Lacey Gigante, Director of Post-Market Surveillance at Integra Life Sciences on the latest episode of their Service Intel Podcast. 

Work/life balance is something we all think about. But for Lacey, who’s worked in the highly-regulated and faced-paced healthcare space the entirety of her career, balance has always been hard to achieve. Along the way, though, Lacey figured out how to make it possible. And she shared so much of what she’s learned with Aquant’s Service Intel podcast listeners. 

Read on for some highlights from the interview with Lacey. 

Work/Life Balance Starts with Leadership

Leaders have to set an example for their team, said Lacey. At Integra, that means talking about balance often. One personal example Lacey shared: She makes it a point to set boundaries and not answer calls or respond to emails on weekends so she can focus on time with her kids. Her team members know this, and they know that it isn’t expected of them, either. 

Promoting balance also requires intentional leadership. Lacey shared, “if you’re totally scattered and feeling pulled in every direction, something needs to be reassessed”. In her case, this means doing what she calls “connecting vertically” with herself before starting work and focusing completely on her family. That way, she’s grounded when the work day starts and ready for all of the things that pull her in different directions “horizontally” throughout the day. 

It’s Okay to Be a Work In Progress

Lacey works with a lot of high-achievers — herself included. It’s so easy to feel like you always have to be on, and it takes practice to adopt a different mentality. It’s easy to be watching TV at night and to check your phone in between commercials or get distracted by it while you’re watching a movie. Before going to bed, it’s so tempting to grab your phone and read things for a while before falling asleep. 

These days, she puts her phone on airplane mode at night and places it out of reach so she needs to get out of bed to turn the alarm off in the morning. But that wasn’t always the case. Lacey used to scroll through emails as soon as she woke up. Now, she does a five-minute meditation in the mornings while her kids are still sleeping. Then she makes her coffee and focuses on centering herself before the day starts. With young kids, she usually only has 15 minutes to do this, but even that short amount of time creates a morning routine that helps set her up for success — and helps set her team up for success as a result. 

Rethink Other People’s Expectations

For team members that are used to always being available, there’s often a fear of setting boundaries. What if someone looks at them negatively if they don’t respond at all hours or on weekends? Lacey shared some great advice about managing team members that feel this way.

Often, they’re worried that someone will be disappointed or they’ll get into trouble for not responding quickly enough. So Lacey helps them understand why they have this fear. Then she works to reassure them that she doesn’t expect anyone to always be on. Together, they’ll ttalk through it and work on a better boundary.

Building this foundation 1:1 also makes it easier to set boundaries when other departments and leads have a different mindset and different expectations around availability. 

Prioritize Building Trust with Your Team

When there’s a morale issue or problems with company culture or micromanaging, it’s often because there isn’t a strong focus on employees, Lacey told us. When it’s all about the task and not about the person performing the task, people don’t feel connected to their jobs. That’s when mistakes are more likely to happen.

From a people perspective and from a business perspective, it’s so important to put team members first and promote work/life balance. At Integra, where operators are on the frontlines, inspecting products before they go out the door and making sure everything is perfect for patients, having an environment where employees feel disconnected can have serious consequences. While it’s easy to get caught up in the fast pace of work and forget about work/life balance, prioritizing it can have a far-reaching positive impact that leads to a better department and better culture company overall. 

Listen to the full episode for more of the conversation with Lacey. You can subscribe to Aquant’s Service Intel podcast here.

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