A Day in the Life of a Manufacturing Team Member, From Work-life Balance to Life-work Journey

Man operating a machine

The term “work-life balance” was created and accepted by organizations with the assumption that work and life are two equal halves that can be balanced 50/50 through conscious effort to do so. However, in a more modern world, the concept could be seen as outdated for several reasons.

The pandemic has shown us that work and life are not always equal when it comes to which one takes priority over the other. We’ve learned that to be seen as employers of choice, manufacturing organizations must allow employees to have a flexible, adaptable experience at work. Employers must also be invested in the priorities of their employees if they want to ensure their longevity with the organization.

In order to better understand this new reality faced by employees and organizations, we developed a concept called the Life-work Journey™. The Life-work Journey defines six stages — At Risk, Security, Growth, Self-realization, Influence, and Legacy — that reflect various experiences employees face during their lives and careers. It also defines five stages — Growth, Retraction, New Business Models, Disruption, and Revival — that business organizations go through. To be clear, the Life-work Journey is not always linear. Fundamentally, the Life-work Journey will only be successful if organizations trust that their employees will provide authentic, unfiltered feedback, and employees believe their employers will act on it.

One of the biggest hurdles organizations face while guiding employees along the Life-work Journey is using outdated software and related technologies for HR, payroll, timekeeping, scheduling, recruiting, reporting, and other common-yet-critical workplace processes. This is where the latest technologies, tailored specifically to help employers address the complexities of the journey, can help. We call it Life-work Technology™. Combining people systems with work systems, Life-work Technology helps employees and businesses connect people to purpose, promote belonging and wellbeing, increase effectiveness and productivity, optimize teams, and more.

To illustrate the positive change and flexibility that Life-work Tech can provide, let’s imagine a typical day in the life of a manufacturing employee, William, who works as a machine operator at a food processing plant and plays bass in a band as a passion project on the side.

7:30 am

  • While having a quick breakfast before work, William checks his schedule for the rest of the week which was generated through the system, taking shift availability, the production demand forecast, and his work preferences into account (for example, working around his band’s practice schedule).

8:00 am

  • William arrives at work and clocks in on an InTouch DX timeclock.
  • He must answer a few questions to verify his health status before starting his shift. He goes through the checkpoint questions, acknowledges he is feeling well, and is cleared to work.
  • William puts on his safety gear and begins reviewing how the machine he operates functioned during the previous shift.

9:30 am

  • During a 15-minute break, William receives an alert through his mobile app that another employee is requesting him to pick up a dropped shift next week. He meets the needed compliance and work rule criteria for the shift, which is why he was alerted to the shift availability.
  • He checks that he is available to work the shift and picks it up within minutes.

10:30 am

  • William continues his work on the machine, and then allocates his time and records results against a specific work order for that day.

12:00 pm

  • William heads to the breakroom for lunch. He clocks out for his meal break using the breakroom timeclock.
  • After twenty minutes, he tries to clock back in on the timeclock in the break area but is alerted that he must take his full thirty-minute break. He finds a quiet spot to study his band’s newest song with the remaining time.

12:30 pm

  • William clocks back in and returns to his machine to continue working.

1:00 pm

  • During a check-in with his supervisor, William expresses an interest in career development opportunities.
  • His supervisor records the request in the system so that they can discuss it at the next touch-base meeting and directs him to a specific learning module that he can get started on in the meantime.

2:30 pm

  • During his second break (required by his union agreement), William receives a text from one of his bandmates about a new gig opportunity for the band. Unfortunately, it conflicts with an upcoming shift he’s scheduled for at work.
  • He submits a request to swap shifts, and another operator with the right qualifications accepts the trade right away. He texts his bandmate to let her know he’s now available to play the gig.

3:00 pm

  • William reviews his personal performance metrics for the day, going over his productivity and efficiency numbers. This information helps him understand where he needs to improve so he can get his monthly performance bonus.

4:00 pm

  • As he nears the end of his shift, William takes a survey on his mobile app where he can provide open-ended responses and insights.
  • He receives a reminder that he must acknowledge a document regarding a new shop floor safety policy in the system, which he is able to do from his mobile device.
  • William clocks out on the timeclock, says goodbye to his coworkers, and heads over to band practice.

In just one day, William has successfully chosen his own schedule based around personal preferences and outside-of-work commitments, organized his day around clearly stated tasks, started a conversation about career progression, and more — all from the palm of his hand.

When studies have shown that large numbers of manufacturing employees might leave their jobs if their employers do not provide flexible work options post-pandemic, it’s hard to ignore the fact that supplying modern technology for employees is a major factor when it comes to retaining talent and keeping employees engaged on the job. With Life-work Technology, we know that life and work will always be connected. Our tools deliver on UKG’s promise to connect people and technology in a way that genuinely helps employers guide and support every individual employee along their personal Life-work Journey.

Learn more about how implementing Life-work Technology can improve your business.

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