If you want productive employees, giving them a chance to relax and recharge from time to time will be essential to your team’s success. Establishing a strong work-life balance helps your employees become more creative and boosts their overall productivity. More importantly for the business, it can increase your retention rates and reduce your absenteeism.
While many people focus on how employees and individuals can achieve this balance, there is only so much your employees can do on their own. Unless employers institute the right policies and procedures, their employees will never be able to achieve the level of balance to impact their lives. If you want your company to benefit from refreshed, happy workers, you’ll need to change your approach to running the office.
What Is Work-Life Balance?
Think of a giant scale with “work” aspects on one side and “personal life” aspects on the other. When you have achieved a work-life balance, these two sides of the scale carry the same weight on a person and become equally level.
Your employees could spend their personal time with their family, on a date with their spouse, pursuing a personal interest or enjoying other leisure activities. The important thing is they get the necessary free time to pursue the activities they enjoy the most. If they don’t have time to have a personal life, then there is a work-life imbalance that could inhibit their abilities from day-to-day.
This equilibrium can be achieved through flexible work arrangements, more vacation time, and different life programs. It may also include options like parental leave, sabbaticals or telecommuting from home.
Why Is Work-Life Balance Important?
Many managers have seen firsthand the negative effects overwork can have on an employee. Working too many hours can affect an individual’s physical and psychological health, even causing workplace burnout. It can harm employee morale and damage the individual’s family life.
Improving your employees’ work-life balance can benefit your organization. It helps to boost employee productivity and lower absenteeism. Your happier, less stressed employees will be more loyal, motivated, and committed to their roles.
A balanced life improves your employees’ health and well-being. Employers can enjoy having increased employee accountability, improved communication, and better teamwork. It also reduces organizational stress across the board thanks to the increase in functionality.
By improving work-life balance for employees, you can lower your recruitment costs and staff turnover. It allows you to react to the marketplace through options like flex-time, shift work, and part-time hours. Plus, a balance between work and personal matters makes potential employees see your company as a place where they want to work over the long-term.
8 Work-Life Balance Tips for Employers
The right work-life balance tips can identify whether your company attracts the top talent or leads them away. By offering flex-time, more breaks, and other perks, you’ll make your employees want to put in more effort and show up each day for work.
Start Offering Short Breaks
Long ago, human beings were hunters and gatherers. They were completely unaccustomed to staring at a computer screen and sitting at a desk for eight or more hours a day. Even the most dedicated employees can suffer from physical and mental fatigue after an hour or two of continuous work.
One of the best ways to combat this is through short interval breaks. Set up a social area in the office where people can get away from their work and recharge. A quick walk outside can also help people handle stress and relax for a moment.
Breaks may feel like they’re taking your team away from the task at hand, but they will end up making your employees more effective when on the job. Productivity declines over time, but a break helps to rejuvenate the worker’s focus, stamina, and energy.
Consider Telecommuting Options and Flexible Schedules
Obviously, there are some positions across certain industries can’t telecommute. A cook or a construction worker can’t possibly do their work from home. For other workers, however, it is time to consider telecommuting or work-from-home options.
Any employee who works on the computer can easily do some of their work from home. In addition to giving your employees a better work-life balance, this option helps them avoid a costly commute. If an employee commutes for an hour each way, they could save anywhere from 2 to 10 hours of commuting time each week by telecommuting for one to five days.
A flexible schedule doesn’t mean the employee gets to choose when they show up or not. It could be something as simple as letting your employees decide when they want to start and end their typical workday. For example, your employees could still have an eight-hour requirement each day, but you let them choose what time they start each day.
Make Time Off Actually Time Off
Too often, employers will send a text or call an employee to come in on their day off. Unless it is an absolute emergency, employees should be left alone during their off days. It is impossible to recharge and focus on something other than work if your workplace keeps calling every few hours.
This is especially true during vacations. Once an employee is on vacation or off of work, they should not be contacted. Having long hours and no life outside of work can cause your employees to become burned out. Ultimately, this can make them less productive and more likely to quit.
If you don’t already offer paid time off, consider the benefits and how it could help both parties. When you pay employees to take time off, they are more likely to do it. Many of your employees may not be able to afford to skip a paycheck, so paying them to go on vacation will positively boost their work-life equilibrium.
Be a Model of Balance
As the boss, you are an example for your employees. While you want to be a model of hard work, dedication, and commitment, you should also take some time off yourself. It isn’t mentally or physically healthy for you to work continuously.
More importantly, your employees may be afraid to have a personal life if they see you working constantly. They could be afraid you will think less of them if they take time off or leave exactly at 5 o’clock. By taking breaks and using your own time off, you show your employees it is okay for them to do the same.
Host Monthly Activities
Another way to help your employees is by offering monthly family and employee events. This encourages friendships among your team members, promotes family time, and boosts team building. You may also want to offer adult-only events and offer babysitting services for employees who attend.
Some of the most popular events include outdoor movies, ice skating, softball games, bowling, or picnics. Volunteering together can also be fun for employees as it gives them the chance to give back to their community. Seasonal events like hayrides or holiday parties are also great ideas.
These events help your employees relax and form relationships with their co-workers. When employees have strong connections with their team members, they are more likely to remain in a particular workplace.
Let Employees Job Share or Work Part-Time
Do you really want the hassle and stress of hiring and firing employees as new projects begin? When you have part-time employees, your team can easily work full-time hours when you need extra help. Then, as business slows down, they can go back to part-time.
This allows your employees to achieve a balanced life by giving them more time to be with their family outside of work. It also gives you instant access to the labor hours you need if you get new projects or assignments.
Start by seeing if anyone wants to work part-time hours with added shifts as needed. You can also ask if any employees want to job share. Job sharing involves two people who split the same job. It is a popular choice when employees want to homeschool or start a family, but their employer doesn’t want to lose their skills.
Offer Exercise Access
If you want your employees to have a healthy lifestyle, offer exercise access through an on-site gym, a walking trail, or a few fitness machines. Healthy adults are supposed to have at least 30 minutes of exercise a day. When people don’t exercise enough, they are more likely to get sick and miss days of work.
Working out can also reduce stress and rejuvenate the mind. If you don’t have space for a treadmill or air walker at the office, partner with a local gym to offer your employees a discount on their membership. You can also offer your employees a Fitbit or other fitness device to encourage them to walk on their breaks.
A great way to boost wellness around the office is with friendly competitions and contests.
For example, you can provide a prize to the winner who takes the most steps, exercises the most days in a certain timeframe, or even bikes to work. Such wellness challenges are a great way to incentivize healthy habits and build camaraderie in the team.
Consider Childcare Services
Childcare issues are one of the major reasons why parents leave work early or have to take a day off. If their babysitter calls in sick, they will have to stay home and watch their child. By offering childcare at the office, you give your employees an alternative and remove potential excuses for leaving the office early.
Finding a good childcare program is difficult, so your employees are more likely to remain with your company if you provide a reliable childcare provider. It also prevents your employees from being late because they won’t have to make an extra stop to drop off their child somewhere else in the morning. In addition, it can reduce the amount of stress your employee deals with regarding their children.
Achieving a Better Balance
A better work-life balance is possible for your employees. In addition to making you a better employer, a more effective work-life balance for employees encourages your workers to be more productive. It helps to improve employee morale and worker retention.
As an employer, you have the power to transform the lives of everyone at your company. From modeling a balanced life to offering exercise options, there are a number of different ways you can provide a balance between work and everything else. With a few changes, you can make your company a place where people want to show up for work.
Logan Derrick is a full-time business writer and content marketing strategist. For years, he has worked closely with several project management professionals, learning from them and increasing his own knowledge of the industry. Having held multiple management positions in fields ranging from customer service to marketing, Logan has found a passion for helping others learn about project management, marketing, and the powerful tools available to professionals today.