5 Methods for Improving Employee Work-Life Balance

To work to live, or to live to work? This is a critical and difficult question to answer, even though it is as old as time. Interestingly this remains a dilemma to most employees at their places of work. For many people across the globe, work ends at the end of the day, but for many others, it can creep into the evening, dinner with family and the weekend. While some employees have accepted that it is a way of life, others dread the rat race life seems to have become because of needing to work. Statistics have shown that poor work life balance is a top reason why employees leave their jobs.

A successful company is one best manned by skilled people, and further, one that put its people first over everything else. Such a company will understand that employees are human beings, and they need a life outside of work, and such employers would to the extent possible, support and provide for employee work-life desires and needs based on their personalities and expectations from work. The fact is that employers alone cannot provide 100% work-life balance for their employees as employees have to take some responsibility to change their attitudes to work in consideration of their personal lives and vice versa. There are however some things that employers can do to ensure that they are supporting their employees to get the balance right.

Offer Flexible and Remote Working

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working was not so common and often frowned upon – many employers practically considered it encouraging ineptitude. However, more people are working from home now more than ever and more employers have started to see that performance is not necessarily reduced as a result. A lot of employees have found their self-drive and many are measuring improved personal effectiveness and are hoping it stays this way even after the pandemic. According to a study, 81% of 3,500 employees sampled, placed importance and value on flexible working. Employees want to be trusted to manage when, where and how they work as long as they deliver on expectations. Some companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook have already announced that their employees can continue to work from home till 2021 if they wish. They realised that working from home allowed their employees to spend more time with their families and balance their work and life, and more importantly, they have been able to ascertain that performance was not sacrificed.

 

Provide good health coverage for all employees, even part-time

As a business leader, you should know what aspects of your employees’ health they would like to see improve. You could provide health and life insurance coverage as an option, just the guarantee of no out-of-pocket expense for medicals is enough to provide the peace of mind that allows employees to go above and beyond for their employer and it makes them feel like an intricate part of a bigger picture. The feeling of value is imperative to an employee’s performance. Even fitness considerations with regards the provision of gym memberships, healthy snacks, and even massage treatments periodically have the potential to create a strong workplace culture and employee loyalty.

 

Encourage Vacations

It is not good enough that many companies stick to the old standard of 2 weeks of vacation per annum. Moreover, studies have shown that 14 days off per 365 days in the year simply is not enough to achieve an ideal work-life balance. Needless to say, it is much worse for employees working at small companies and growing start-ups because they cannot even afford the luxury of those mandatory days off sometimes. Employers must however try to make it work, if through the use of internships and temps to stand in for those breaks when employees need to be away for a much-needed rest.

For employees who are workaholics, one way to encourage them to take vacations and go on breaks is to implement a ‘use it or lose it’ vacation policy, whereby employees’ allotted vacation time expires if it left unused at the end of the year. Eve if they will not go on vacation, at least some would take some time off to rest to avoid a sense of loss of benefit.

Regularly Review Workloads

As a leader, you have to review the allocation of duties to ensure that your employees have achievable workloads, sometimes, you find that some employees are underworked while others are terribly overworked. This exercise helps to highlight some of these inconsistencies that tend to evolve over time; you just find that the employee who delivers faster and more accurately is being given way too much and the ineffective ones are constantly on paid vacations. This is also why managers and team leads need to engage with their teams regularly – weekly, but sometimes even as frequently as daily. This way you can understand those that are struggling with their duties, those who are stressed and those who have the capacity to take on more responsibility.

  1. Lead by Example

Ensure that the senior leadership team enjoy a healthy work-life balance as well. As much as possible, leave the office at a decent hour, take breaks and go on vacations when you can. The team follows suit when they see the senior leadership leading in the culture that they preach. As a leader, it does not look good to your employees if you often sleep at the office, always send out emails in the middle of the night, it sets the tone of what they come to believe you equally expect of them. Yes, sometimes, project exigencies require overtime, but you must send a clear message that it is not the norm if that is the culture and value system that you want your firm to have. You can imbibe a good work life culture in your business and company by leading by example.

 

Companies which attract and keep the best people know that every employee is different, and they design experiences at work which can be personalized for everyone. If you are serious about creating a better work-life balance for your employees, then there will not be a one-size-fits all that works. You will need to tailor your approach to each employee or team, and in time, you will only hire employees that radiate that culture even from the first interview.

 

For support in designing strong work cultures and integrating them into your team, send an email to smeblock@cr8careers.c

To work to live, or to live to work? This is a critical and difficult question to answer, even though it is as old as time. Interestingly this remains a dilemma to most employees at their places of work. For many people across the globe, work ends at the end of the day, but for many others, it can creep into the evening, dinner with family and the weekend. While some employees have accepted that it is a way of life, others dread the rat race life seems to have become because of needing to work. Statistics have shown that poor work life balance is a top reason why employees leave their jobs.

A successful company is one best manned by skilled people, and further, one that put its people first over everything else. Such a company will understand that employees are human beings, and they need a life outside of work, and such employers would to the extent possible, support and provide for employee work-life desires and needs based on their personalities and expectations from work. The fact is that employers alone cannot provide 100% work-life balance for their employees as employees have to take some responsibility to change their attitudes to work in consideration of their personal lives and vice versa. There are however some things that employers can do to ensure that they are supporting their employees to get the balance right.

Offer Flexible and Remote Working

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, remote working was not so common and often frowned upon – many employers practically considered it encouraging ineptitude. However, more people are working from home now more than ever and more employers have started to see that performance is not necessarily reduced as a result. A lot of employees have found their self-drive and many are measuring improved personal effectiveness and are hoping it stays this way even after the pandemic. According to a study, 81% of 3,500 employees sampled, placed importance and value on flexible working. Employees want to be trusted to manage when, where and how they work as long as they deliver on expectations. Some companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook have already announced that their employees can continue to work from home till 2021 if they wish. They realised that working from home allowed their employees to spend more time with their families and balance their work and life, and more importantly, they have been able to ascertain that performance was not sacrificed.

 

Provide good health coverage for all employees, even part-time

As a business leader, you should know what aspects of your employees’ health they would like to see improve. You could provide health and life insurance coverage as an option, just the guarantee of no out-of-pocket expense for medicals is enough to provide the peace of mind that allows employees to go above and beyond for their employer and it makes them feel like an intricate part of a bigger picture. The feeling of value is imperative to an employee’s performance. Even fitness considerations with regards the provision of gym memberships, healthy snacks, and even massage treatments periodically have the potential to create a strong workplace culture and employee loyalty.

 

Encourage Vacations

It is not good enough that many companies stick to the old standard of 2 weeks of vacation per annum. Moreover, studies have shown that 14 days off per 365 days in the year simply is not enough to achieve an ideal work-life balance. Needless to say, it is much worse for employees working at small companies and growing start-ups because they cannot even afford the luxury of those mandatory days off sometimes. Employers must however try to make it work, if through the use of internships and temps to stand in for those breaks when employees need to be away for a much-needed rest.

For employees who are workaholics, one way to encourage them to take vacations and go on breaks is to implement a ‘use it or lose it’ vacation policy, whereby employees’ allotted vacation time expires if it left unused at the end of the year. Eve if they will not go on vacation, at least some would take some time off to rest to avoid a sense of loss of benefit.

Regularly Review Workloads

As a leader, you have to review the allocation of duties to ensure that your employees have achievable workloads, sometimes, you find that some employees are underworked while others are terribly overworked. This exercise helps to highlight some of these inconsistencies that tend to evolve over time; you just find that the employee who delivers faster and more accurately is being given way too much and the ineffective ones are constantly on paid vacations. This is also why managers and team leads need to engage with their teams regularly – weekly, but sometimes even as frequently as daily. This way you can understand those that are struggling with their duties, those who are stressed and those who have the capacity to take on more responsibility.

Lead by Example

Ensure that the senior leadership team enjoy a healthy work-life balance as well. As much as possible, leave the office at a decent hour, take breaks and go on vacations when you can. The team follows suit when they see the senior leadership leading in the culture that they preach. As a leader, it does not look good to your employees if you often sleep at the office, always send out emails in the middle of the night, it sets the tone of what they come to believe you equally expect of them. Yes, sometimes, project exigencies require overtime, but you must send a clear message that it is not the norm if that is the culture and value system that you want your firm to have. You can imbibe a good work life culture in your business and company by leading by example.

 

Companies which attract and keep the best people know that every employee is different, and they design experiences at work which can be personalized for everyone. If you are serious about creating a better work-life balance for your employees, then there will not be a one-size-fits all that works. You will need to tailor your approach to each employee or team, and in time, you will only hire employees that radiate that culture even from the first interview.

 

For support in designing strong work cultures and integrating them into your team, send an email to smeblock@cr8careers.co

 

 

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