What is work-life balance? Simply put, work-life balance is the attempts by employees to split their time and energy between work and the other significant aspects of their lives. It often involves balancing work and its stress with the daily pressures of family, friends, personal health interests and much more. All while ensuring one does not negatively affect the other.
Though why should this be a concern for your business? When employees spend the bulk of their days on work activities and feel as if they are dismissing the other major elements of their lives, pressure and unhappiness can occur. Encouraging your employees to achieve a good work-life balance enables employees to feel as if they are paying attention to all the important aspects of their lives – not just their jobs. So that when their time is focused on work, their minds are engaged in the tasks at hand, ensuring more productively without personal life distractions.
Creating a work culture in which work-life balance is supported can be difficult, but a few simple tasks that we’ve outlined can enable employers to encourage staff to pursue more balanced lives.
Promote Health & Wellness
An elemental part of work-life balance is prioritising health and wellness for all employees. Long working days, often means employees don’t have time to work out or schedule necessary medical appointments, meaning workers sacrifice their health and wellness as a result. However, as an employer, there are several things you can do to encourage your employees to maintain wholesome lifestyles.
One of the most certain ways to reduce stress is exercise and a healthy diet. Employees who eat healthily and exercise are less likely to get sick and miss days from work, which could ultimately affect your company’s productivity and processes. Encouraging employees to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day and eat well is therefore very important. To do this, you can offer discount gym memberships, offer free introductory fitness or mindfulness classes in office, such as yoga, and/or establish business sports teams. Then pop to the shop and ensure a bountiful supply of fruit or healthy snacks are available to staff. In tandem to this, initiating a policy for your workers around scheduling important health or dental appointments will be very beneficial. It’s unrealistic for employees to schedule all appointments outside of working hours or at the weekend. Offering flexibility to schedule these appointments during the working day, within reason, can alleviate a lot of stress as well as avoiding health problems interfering with job performance. Of course, you want your employees to be in the office working. But, good employers understand that life happens, and health is important. And sometimes, this requires a trip to the doctor during work hours.
Take a Break
A good way to maintain a healthy work-life balance is to actively encourage your employees to take time off from working and use their annual leave allowance to it’s fullest. With a growing to do list or financial restrictions, holiday leave can often be a far-reaching thought and far from relaxing. This creates an ‘all work and no play’ scenario which can adversely affect staff morale and productivity. Employees may not be able to afford trips abroad so instead encourage them to use this time to re-charge their batteries with a stay-cation, days to pursue personal passions or to just switch off from work for a day.
On a smaller scale, encourage short breaks throughout the workday. Affording employees this freedom can do wealth for morals and is a major step for an employees’ work-life balance. Taking breaks at work, for whatever reason’ makes employees more focused, less prone to burn out, and work harder in the long run.
Think Outside the Office
Allowing your employees to have some flexibility for work outside the office building or set business hours is an excellent way to promote a healthy work-life balance at your company. There are several ways to do this that range from flexitime hours, virtual or remote working, and unpaid time off. These choices allow your employees to have a life outside of the office, to focus on important life events or deal with emergencies as they arise. This shows your workers that you value and trust them as people, not just employees. The benefits of this are that your staff don’t have to worry about missing work and focus on work when in the office, offer the same flexibility in return, and your company’s needs or deadlines can still be met.
Be a Leader
Even if you inform employees that you encourage a strong work-life balance, that doesn’t necessarily mean they will take that at face value. Especially if the boss doesn’t follow their advice. The most efficient way to encourage a work-life balance is to be a leader. Most discussions on work-life balance are geared towards employees, but you can face the same issues. We’ve all seen the employer who says employees need this balance, but themselves stay late at the office and sends emails at two am.
So, lead by example. Leave the office on time when possible, take the much-needed holiday time and ensure your health and wellness come first.