According to surveys, Birmingham wants a better work-life balance. Tips from 5 local leaders

Traffic in Downtown Birmingham
Zoomin’ into a better work-life balance in Birmingham in 2022. (Matthew Niblett / Bham Now)

We wanted to learn more about the state of work-life balance in Birmingham, so we polled our LinkedIn audience. If you’re like 50% of our respondents, you may feel like you want a better work-life balance in 2022. We’ve got you covered with tips from five local leaders whose careers range from founding businesses to working at the TV stations you watch. Check it out.

50% of our LinkedIn audience says they work too much 😅

We were curious about the state of Birmingham’s workers, so we asked three questions on LinkedIn. PS—if you want your vote to be included in stories like this, be sure to follow us on LinkedIn! Here are the questions and our audience’s responses:

Bham Now LinkedIn poll
50% of our LinkedIn respondents say they work too much, and 4% wish they had more work.
Bham Now LinkedIn poll
52% of our LinkedIn respondents work more now than they did before the pandemic.
Bham Now LinkedIn poll
54% of 586 LinkedIn respondents are looking for a new job in 2022.

Clearly, our audience is looking to make some changes in 2022 to balance their work and personal lives. Here are tips from five local leaders to avoid burnout.

PS: The following leaders are listed in alphabetical order.

Tips from local leaders for work-life balance in Birmingham 👏 

Downtown Birmingham
Here’s to a balanced year. (Jacob Blankenship / Bham Now)

1. Joi Brown, executive director at Jefferson County Memorial Project

Joi Brown is the current executive director of the Jefferson County Memorial Project, a grassroots social justice organization focused on memorializing victims of racial terror in Jefferson County and racial reconciliation.

Joi Brown’s top tips for finding a good work-life balance:

  • Prioritizing personal life. “Place things like ‘dinner with friends’ on your calendar just as you would a work meeting. I’ve found that this helps hold me accountable to not overworking. It also makes it easier to say no to unexpected work events that intrude on personal time.”
  • Refueling. “Take care of your mental health as much as you do your physical health. Those sick days you have aren’t only for when you have a cold. Burnout is real, especially if you work in a service-based role that can particularly take a toll on your mental and emotional health. You won’t be as productive pouring from an empty cup. Take time when you need it.”
  • Scheduling. “Don’t be afraid to be the ‘let me check my calendar’ person. I used to make fun of people that always said that, but now I get it. It’s great to live in the moment, however when you’re busy, planning makes all the difference when the goal is work/life balance. Chances are, because you have a plan, you’ll have time for more spontaneity!”

Local organizations that have helped Joi Brown create balance:

2. Ashley Gann, chief meteorologist at CBS 42

Ashley Gann is the chief meteorologist at CBS 42 and a mother of four children under 8 years old. As the chief meteorologist, she leads a weather team in Birmingham and serves one of the most severe weather-prone regions in the world. What makes her title even more amazing: only 8% of all chief meteorologists in the United States are women.

Ashley Gann’s top tips for finding a good work-life balance:

  • Flexibility. “With my job, and the fluid nature of weather, it’s often a challenge to pin a lot of commitments down on a calendar weeks or months in advance. The reality is, weather may force me [my family] to pivot from one set of plans to another.”
  • Organization + balance. “Balance is so important too. When there are long hard weeks of work, I make sure to make it up with a super fun weekend.” 

3. Chase Morrow, co-founder of GoodJob

If you’ve ever looked for a job in Birmingham, you’re probably familiar with GoodJob, the startup that Chase Morrow co-founded to help people find their purpose and meaningful work. As a veteran of the startup world, Chase recognizes that sometimes work-life balance is difficult to come by.

Chase Morrow’s top tips for finding a good work-life balance:

  • Defining productivity. “I also recommend that leaders/managers focus on productivity vs. hours or time spent. I would recommend finding and defining success outside of just your business.”
  • Prioritizing health. “It would also be best to make your health, physical and mental, a high priority.”

4. Elizabeth Scribner, internal audit data scientist for a local financial institution

Elizabeth Scribner works at a local financial institution, where she spends most of her time building databases, all while working from home with small children.

Elizabeth Scribner’s top tips for finding a good work-life balance:

  • Boundaries. “For me, I like to think that ‘I can have it all, just not perfectly.’  For example, if the school requests baked goods for a farm stand fundraiser, I can send a store-bought item and still give my child the experience of contributing to a good cause without making a mess in the kitchen. I can exercise regularly—one or two times a week. At work, boundaries can mean adjusting the scope of a project or asking another colleague for help in order to get a task across the finish line.”
  • Asking the right questions. “I’ve also saved a lot of hours at work by asking the right questions before I start a new project—if someone has already done something similar, then it is easier for me to build on existing work than start something new from the ground up.”

Local organizations that have helped Elizabeth Scribner create balance:

5. Dr. Adrienne Starks, founder of STREAM Innovations, Inc.

Dr. Adrienne Starks founded STREAM Innovations, Inc. in 2015 to help students develop and explore their passion in science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics.

Dr. Adrienne Starks’ top tips for finding a good work-life balance:

  • Community. “Surround yourself with people that root for your success, hold you accountable to have life outside of work, and genuinely want good for you.”
  • Creativity. “Find ways to be creative outside of your norm and explore new things with others to create memorable moments.”
  • Reflection. “Schedule daily or weekly time to reflect on life and work for moments of gratitude.”

Local organizations that have helped Dr. Adrienne Starks create balance:

What are YOUR top tips for finding work-life balance in Birmingham? Let us know by tagging @BhamNow on social.

Cecilia Wood
Cecilia Wood
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