Eating well and exercising are important to the health and wellness of my family and workplace. I think this way of life is contagious, and my students often take up some fitness program to stay well too.
Again, it gives them a strategy they can use later on that will help them deal with issues of burnout. Not all members of the athletic training staff capitalized on the same life-balancing strategies, but all discussed their personal ways to find a balance. They were quick to point out the importance of having interests beyond their roles as ATs; however, other methods previously presented were also necessary to help them achieve that balance.
The workplace environment and established organizational policies, particularly administrative and supervisor support, flexible work schedules, and support networks, have been identified as helpful in promoting work—life balance for the working professional, including the AT. Despite this knowledge, many investigators have focused on the perspective of the individual employee rather than that of a cohort of working professionals who share the same job roles and responsibilities.
Our results parallel those of other researchers and illustrate the importance of teamwork, support networks, and the role the supervisor can play in fulfilling work—life balance. Moreover, the members of the athletic training staff were successful because they felt rejuvenated, enjoyed their jobs, and believed they were supported at all levels of the administration. However, the data also highlight the need for individualistic plans for fulfillment of work—life balance, outside interests, and hobbies to promote a balanced lifestyle. Overall, a workplace environment that can provide ATs autonomy to control their work schedules and attend to their personal and family matters is one that also supports job satisfaction and retention.
Moreover, the professional autonomy that the head AT provided likely influenced the long-term tenure of the athletic training staff members at ABC University. As in previous research, support from supervisors was found to be an important factor facilitating work—life balance for this group of ATs. Supervisors, managers, and organizational leaders can play the role of gatekeeper for upholding work and life initiatives that the organization establishes and can be the people responsible for creating and implementing policies to help the staff members meet personal and family needs.
The head AT at ABC University valued not only the contributions of his staff members to the workplace but also their responsibilities to their families. He demonstrated this appreciation by giving them the flexibility and autonomy to develop their own work schedules to meet their professional and personal responsibilities. Flexibility in work schedules has been a popular organizational policy afforded to working professionals, 9 particularly women, to meet both work and home responsibilities.
The concept allows them to address multiple roles within the day and, in the case of unplanned events, enables them to manage such events without stress. The staff members' experiences at ABC University were positive largely because of their supervisor's work—life balance philosophy. Although this feature has been deemed important in the Division I clinical setting, 2 it plausibly may not be the norm for all Division I ATs. Recently, Goodman et al 6 found workplace conflicts ie, inability to achieve work—life balance, lack of perceived support from supervisors to be major attrition factors among Division I female ATs.
Female coaches at the Division I level have discussed autonomy in the workplace, similar to what was provided to the ATs at ABC University, as indispensable to their abilities to be good parents and successful coaches despite the hour or longer workweek. Professional autonomy over both job performance and certain scheduling aspects also has been documented as an important retention factor for the Division I AT.
Social support, especially coworker support, also has been shown to be a factor in retention 6 for the AT in addition to an effective way to achieve work—life balance. As in previous research, 2 , 23 the participants discussed helping their peers when a family emergency arose or when practice times changed and a colleague had a previous engagement at home. Coworker support should not be exclusive to the working parent but should be available to any AT who is trying to manage the long work hours associated with athletic training in the collegiate setting.
Furthermore, employees who believe they are supported by their organizations are more satisfied both personally and professionally, which is an important retention factor.
Time away from the role of AT is important not only to fulfill work—life balance but also to help promote professional commitment. Common recommendations for allowing time away from the role include personal hobbies, leisure time, and exercise, 1 , 2 , 13 which were suggestions made by our participants. Interestingly, the time spent on personal outside interests rejuvenates the AT, allowing ATs to feel more professionally committed and ready to tackle their responsibilities at work and home. Although time away from the role of the AT has been discussed in previous research, 13 , 22 this group of ATs appeared to stress the importance of exercise and healthy lifestyle practices as means to achieve and promote life balance.
Exercise not only benefited them physically but also provided a much-needed mental break from their roles as ATs, parents, and spouses. Athletic trainers are notorious for working long hours and putting other people's needs before their own. Therefore, taking time eg, before work, during lunch, between treatments or practices to incorporate an adequate workout to relieve stress from the day is important to them.
Recent data have indicated that although ATs are active, they do not meet the professional recommendations set forth by the American College of Sports Medicine to exercise for 30 minutes at least 5 days per week. A healthy lifestyle also encompasses social support networks, which include friends and family who are separate from the workplace. Although teamwork within the workplace is important for work—life balance, having outlets outside of the workplace is necessary too because these outlets allow the AT to clear his or her mind and find a respite from job stressors.
The concept of separation is also an important personal work—life balance strategy that the AT uses. By separating them, the AT can enjoy the time spent in each domain without feeling overwhelmed or consumed by the other. Furthermore, support received from the AT's social support group also will help him or her have a sense of work—life balance; spousal and family support often has been cited as beneficial in achieving work—life balance at the collegiate setting. Fulfillment of work—life balance appears to result from a combination of a cohesive, family-friendly work environment that includes a supportive supervisor and personal strategies to address individual family and personal needs.
The members of the athletic training staff at ABC University quickly pointed out that they worked in a very supportive, family-oriented environment, which was the foundation of their success, but recognized that each staff member had his or her own outside interests and family needs. Corroborating previous research, this cohort of ATs used time-management skills; established professional boundaries; and, when necessary, capitalized on integration to help meet child care responsibilities.
Are you doing the work-life balancing act? | anlusfeleapho.cf
Professional boundaries also provide the AT with ownership over his or her job responsibilities and work schedule, a previously identified factor in fulfillment of work—life balance. Creating a family-friendly work environment begins with developing policies that help the working parent adapt to and meet the needs of both his or her workplace and parenting roles. Integration is a policy that has emerged within the athletic training clinical setting and can be helpful. The autonomy afforded to the members of ABC University's athletic training staff by the head AT allowed them to capitalize on this notion of integration during the workday, thus contributing positively to their work—life balance.
ABC University's head AT served as a strong role model for his staff not only by supporting work—life balance but also by following his own policies. The concept of role modeling also was mentioned by a female staff member as important in helping her students develop professionally. Although never linked to retention or work—life balance, mentorship anecdotally could be a strong strategy used to promote healthy work and lifestyle habits among young ATs.
Mentorship has been cited as a critical socializing agent to help young professionals develop the skills, values, and attitudes associated with their work roles 25 , 26 ; therefore, we could hypothesize that promoting a work—life balance culture can be learned through mentorship. Mentorship and positive role modeling was found to help mediate the occurrence of sex bias in the workplace because appropriate professional behaviors and management strategies can be demonstrated, providing a realistic, teachable moment 27 that reinforces suitable actions when addressing conflict.
Therefore, it is plausible to reason that if a young AT can witness successful work—life balance strategies at both the personal and organizational levels, he or she will continue to promote and use them throughout his or her career. For example, consider the female staff member who discussed modeling healthy behaviors and managing her family and work responsibilities.
She can educate her students about the lifestyle associated with the collegiate AT, which often includes working 40 or more hours per week while successfully balancing 2 children, a spouse, a home, and a full workload. She personally uses the strategy of integration to help meet home and personal obligations that include being home for dinner each night despite still having more work responsibilities eg, responding to e-mails, telephone calls, and other business to complete at night while at home with her family.
Professional modeling, especially for female students and young professionals, may be an important key to helping retain ATs at the collegiate level while they attempt to find a balance professionally and personally.
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Mentoring and role modeling are components of the professional socialization process for the working employee and help introduce the roles and expectations associated with his or her role. The members of the athletic training staff developed an appreciation of the workplace environment, which offered flexibility with work schedules, teamwork, and supervisor support.
This environment effectively helped the members of the athletic training staff achieve work—life balance, as indicated by their responses to the open-ended questions. Our study has limitations.
8 by 3 Paradigm for Time Management
The data presented reflect the opinions and experiences of only 1 sports medicine staff. Although our data-collection procedures were purposeful to aid in answering the research questions and steps were taken to ensure data credibility, the data represent only 1 athletic training department among several hundred. Future researchers should try to gain the perspectives of other athletic training departments, including those that are not at the Division I level. We capitalized on Web-based journaling as a means to collect data instead of using telephone or in-person interviews.
Although this method is trustworthy and increasingly popular, we could not follow up on the participants' responses to questions to gain additional information or clarify responses. Researchers have used this form of data collection, and we are confident in the clarity of the questions posed; in future inquiries, researchers can employ other methods to collect data. In future investigations, researchers must take a closer look at the role of the supervisor and the fulfillment of work—life balance.
This factor, among several, appeared to be the most important for this cohort of ATs to enjoy a balanced lifestyle despite working in a demanding environment. Moreover, future researchers may evaluate the role of effective socialization into the workplace as a means to promote work—life balance. Informal and formal socialization processes have been found to mediate an AT's learning of on-the-job skills, values, and expectations but have not been evaluated in the role of fulfilling work—life balance. Work—life balance has become a central focus for working Americans, 29 including ATs, who often work longer days and more than 40 hours per week.
Also important to the fulfillment of work—life balance is to find a workplace that encourages and accepts a teamwork environment and has a supervisor who is an advocate for his or her employees in terms of work-related responsibilities ie, pay, autonomy ; values personal and family time; and is willing to promote a flexible, reasonable workload for each staff member regardless of his or her marital or family status.
Family-oriented and supportive work environment was described as a workplace that fosters and encourages work-life balance through professionally and personally shared goals. Although a family-friendly work environment is necessary for work-life balance, each member of the athletic training staff must have personal strategies in place to fully achieve a balance.
The snippet could not be located in the article text. This may be because the snippet appears in a figure legend, contains special characters or spans different sections of the article. J Athl Train. PMID: Stephanie M.
Address correspondence to Stephanie M. Address e-mail to ude. This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Abstract Context: Researchers studying work—life balance have examined policy development and implementation to create a family-friendly work environment from an individualistic perspective rather than from a cohort of employees working under the same supervisor. Objective: To investigate what factors influence work—life balance within the National Collegiate Athletic Association NCAA Division I clinical setting from the perspective of an athletic training staff.
Design: Qualitative study. Setting: Web-based management system. Data Collection and Analysis: Participants responded to a series of questions by journaling their thoughts and experiences. Results: Three themes emerged from the data. Conclusions: The foundation for a successful work environment in the NCAA Division I clinical setting potentially can center on the management style of the supervisor, especially one who promotes teamwork among his or her staff members. Key Words: quality of life, support network, rejuvenation. Key Points. Athletic trainers who create a balance between their personal and professional lives must recognize the personal strategies that work best for their work responsibilities and family and personal needs.
A workplace that encourages and accepts a teamwork environment and has a supervisor who advocates for his or her employees; values personal and family time; and promotes a flexible, reasonable workload for each staff member is important for work—life balance.