Tags – How to Promote Work Life Balance
“Work life balance”. A term we hear a lot these days but putting into practice is a whole different story.
And, the biggest question is, live to work, or work to live?
For a lot of people, work’s over at the end of the day, but for some, it can eat into their evenings and even the weekends.
However, a business that is people-focused, will put its employees first above everything else; it understands employees and their work life needs, based on their expectations from work.
Of course, employers alone cannot provide work-life balance on their own, as employees need to take some responsibility to change their attitudes towards work.
But, there are a few things businesses can do to help their staff find a work life balance that’s right for them.
With that said, here are 5 ways to promote work life balance for your employees.
1. Offer Flexible Working
Many employers fear that a flexible working schedule will mean employees just come and go as they please, but that is not the case.
However, flexible working has been proven to be good for retention, boosting morale and giving employees the ability to have more balance.
And, it doesn’t have to be complicated either. Flexible working could be:
- Part time hours
- Job sharing
- Extended hours
- Working from home
In fact, it could even be as simple as letting employees choose their own start and finish times.
Further to this, employees value managers who empower them to manage their own time.
For instance, letting an employee finish a little earlier to get their heating fixed at home or to take care of a delivery, but feel safe knowing that their employer trusts them to get the job done, will make them feel more valued within the business.
2. Encourage Breaks
When you want your staff to stay productive, taking a break may seem like the opposite.
And, when there are looming deadlines or a sense of competition within the workplace, some employees avoid taking breaks in order to stay on top of their game and show their commitment to the job.
But, taking breaks is actually better for productivity as it enhances creativity and maxismises focus.
As such, you should encourage all employees to take breaks throughout the day; whether this is a quick, short walk or grabbing a coffee with a colleague.
By doing so, your employees will be able to alleviate any stress they may be feeling as well as feeling refreshed before returning back to their desk.
After all, humans are not supposed to sit still and stare at a screen all day, and not taking breaks can result in eye problems due to too much blue light exposure.
In other words, taking breaks will improve your employee’s mental clarity and reduce the risk of burnout, making them more productive in the long run.
3. Encourage Time Off
Similar to taking breaks, employees need to take their annual leave too, even if they are not planning on going anywhere.
And, when an employee is on holiday (not necessarily abroad), they need to give themselves a proper break and enjoy doing other leisurely activities – not check their work emails from home.
So, when an employee does take time off, as a manager you need to respect this and only contact them in this period if it is an emergency.
At times, some staff will not take any of their days off, in hope of saving for a long vacation, whereas others will feel as though taking time off will prevent them from getting their work done.
To overcome this, you could only allow a limited amount of holidays to be carried over into the following year, forcing employees to use their annual leave and ensuring they get their R&R time in; staff should feel fully recharged before they return.
4. Regularly Review Workloads
It’s important that as an employer you do not confuse commitment and dedication with a 70+ hour work week.
Of course, if there is a time-sensitive project, like a new product launch or you’re hosting an event, you may expect employees to work a few extra hours.
But, don’t expect overtime as the norm; employees cannot sustain a high level of energy and long working hours as an expectation.
Consequently, they will become disengaged and worse, burn out.
Therefore, employers must regularly review workloads to ensure each task is achievable; what may seem like a small task to you, could take an individual a day to complete.
As such, talk to your teams regularly to understand who is snowed under and who has the capacity and encourage employees to speak up when they are feeling stressed.
5. Practice What You Preach
Company culture runs from the top down and is heavily influenced by managerial behaviours.
As leaders, you need to be a role model for your employees and lead by example by practicing a healthy work life balance yourself.
Or else, your employees are not going to follow; no one likes to take advice from a hypocrite.
As such, make sure your staff can see you take short breaks too as well as taking holidays to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Because, if you start to answer work emails or calls after-hours or on days your supposed to be off, your employees will feel as though they cannot truly disconnect either.
Simply, to encourage a work life balance you need to practice what you preach; your actions will encourage the behaviours in your workforce.
Whilst you may be desperate to achieve a better work life balance for your employees, it’s important to recognise that every employee is different.
For example, some may be happy to start and finish later, whereas others cannot do this due to other commitments.
All in all, those businesses who can acknowledge this, are able to personalise the work experience for every employee and understand that there is not a “one size fits all” strategy.
At the end of the day, your employees are your most valuable asset.
So, ask them what they want and listen to their needs; you should tailor your approach accordingly.
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Also, if you would like to take a deeper dive into work-life balance in general, here’s our video on the topic:
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