There has been a lot of talk in 2017 about the importance of work-life balance for employees. According to a recent study from Microsoft, 71% of employees say work-life balance is the most important aspect of their job. Encouraging work life balance in the workplace is important for the benefit of employees because it allows them to have better relationships with their managers and co-workers, feel more motivated, be more engaged and be more productive with their work. But employers that lack work life balance policies will suffer because of it as well with a less productive workforce and by struggling to attract and retain talent. Talking about work life balance is one thing; actually doing something about is another. Here are some helpful work life balance strategies for employers:
1) Create an environment of trust
One of the important places to start with encouraging work life balance in the workplace is showing employees that you trust them to accomplish their work and allowing them the flexibility to do so. Work life balance strategies for employers that help accomplish this goal include flextime and the ability to telecommute. Flextime policies allow employees to leave work early, come in late, take the day off or take extended breaks during the day if something comes up, and choose to make up the missed work hours at another time that is more convenient for them. These policies are very helpful for employees that are met with life circumstances such as the need to care for a sick child, attending a child’s school play or sports game, going to a doctor’s appointment or dealing with other personal or family situations that can’t be addressed at another time. That way their work still gets done and they don’t have to lose pay or use vacation or personal time if they don’t want to.
The option to telecommute is another one of the work life balance strategies for employers that make it easier for employees to take care of other obligations without sacrificing their work. If your business requires employees to be in the office most of the time, you can still consider offering the option to telecommute at least occasionally, so employees don’t have to take an entire day off when life situations come up such as their child being sick or their heating system needing repairs.
2) Consult with your employees
One of the easiest ways to start encouraging work life balance in the workplace is to ask your employees how you can help them do this. First, be sure your employees are aware of what work life balance really is. Conducting a seminar on the subject or suggesting reading material that explains work life balance is a good place to start. Encourage employees to come to you with any struggles they are having inside or outside of work. This will make it easier for you to help them get make adjustments that allow them to get their work done while taking care of their emotional, physical and mental needs outside of work. But also be aware that you can’t always rely on employees to come to you when they are struggling with work life balance issues. Try to watch out for signs of burnout among your staff, such as exhaustion, increased absenteeism, irritability or a higher number of mistakes in their work than usual.
3) Be a power of example
Being a power of example is one of the most important work life balance strategies for employers that can make it easier for employees to take control of their own life balance. Out of a desire to appear hard-working and dedicated, it is very common for employees to develop habits such as failing to take their vacation time or staying at the office later than they need on a regular basis. If employers expect to have any luck encouraging work life balance in the workplace, they need to set an example by taking care of their own work life balance, by taking their own vacations, working from home when it’s necessary, etc.
4) Promote emotional, physical and mental health
Employees with healthy social lives and fitness levels are both easier to work with and more productive on the job. One of the work life balance strategies for employers that accomplish this is encouraging employees to exercise by offering access to on-site fitness facilities, discounted gym memberships or arranging fitness classes at your office. Also, it’s important to encourage employees to have fun and not neglect their social lives. Employers can help promote this aspect of employees’ work life balance by arranging team gatherings outside of work, such as happy hours or lunch outings. Another great way for your employees to bond and have fun outside of work is to arrange volunteer projects that your staff can participate in in the community during hours they would normally be working.
Author: Jessica Cody
Jessica Cody, a native of Fairfield County, Connecticut, has a background in online marketing and public relations. Currently, she works at VHMNetwork LLC in the role of Marketing Analyst. She is a graduate of the University of Connecticut, where she studied Journalism and Political Science. She is also an avid runner with a passion for the outdoors.