Work life balance is the concept of an employee and employer working together to prioritize the employee’s work (tasks, career, ambition, etc.) and their lifestyle (health, leisure, family, etc.). One way to maintain a high level of employee engagement and avoid burnout is to help your employees keep a good work-life balance. A good work-life balance is one of the most important things that prospective employees are looking for from an employer.
During this time of great change, as more employees move to a virtual or work-from-home, it is crucial you help your teams to separate work and home life.
Here are 10 tips to help your employees balance their obligations and expectations.
1.Offer Flexible Time and Locations of Work
Another key benefit that employees are looking for from prospective employers is flexibility in when, and where, they complete the work. New technology allows your team to connect from anywhere in the world, utilize this technology to provide your employees with some flexibility allowing them to work from home or on a more flexible schedule. Flexibility allows your employees to handle urgent commitments outside of the office, encouraging them to focus on work while at work.
Encourage your team to work on their own time frame not set their stride to match someone else. One employee might complete their work in 6 hours while someone else might take 8 – there is nothing wrong with either time frame. Your employees will be more productive and effective if they don’t feel responsible for working at the same pace as someone else. For our work from home Agents, we work with them to create schedules based on various factors, but most importantly understanding how we can help them balance their time with other demands- especially during these unprecedented times.
2.Help with things like Childcare
Your team has so many things pulling at their attention, the work they do for you is only a small part of this focus. One thing you can do to help ease their stress is offering on-site childcare, while this is not possible for all organizations a growing trend is to offer your employees with a child or dependent care flexible spending account. These funds are tax-exempt and allow employees to pay for childcare (or elderly day program) expenses incurred during work. During this pandemic, when many care options are unavailable, you can provide flexible schedules and regular break periods, to allow your employees to shift focus. Taking this stress away from your employees will help your team to focus on work without worrying about their family care.
3. Make Sure Employees Take All Their Paid Leave
It might seem counter-intuitive to encourage your team to take time away from their work. A 2016 report shows that taking vacation time relates to actual health benefits – lowered stress, better mental health and lowered risk of heart attacks. Taking time away from work refreshes the employee’s mind and creativity and actually raises productivity levels. Encouraging your team to take the time away from your organization benefits your organization’s effectiveness and makes your organization more attractive to prospective employees.
4. Support Volunteer Initiatives
Volunteering is not only good for your community, it is good for your mental and physical health. Encouraging volunteer initiatives will help your employee to feel more connected to the community, connected to their team members, and will lower blood pressure leading to a longer lifespan. There is a clear correlation between encouraging giving back to the community and employees having a good work-life balance.
5. Teach Your Employees How To Manage Their Finances
One of the biggest sources of stress for your employees is their debt, the average household debt for Canadians has been rising for about 30 years. The average Canadian household debt is around 170 per cent of disposable income. Providing your employees with the tools and knowledge to manage their finances will ease a major source of stress for them. Knowledge and financial management tools can also help your employees save for things like extra training or vacations, which benefit your business in the long term.
6. Provide Ongoing Education and Training
We have discussed the importance of ongoing education and training for your employee engagement. Providing your employees with an opportunity to grow and better themselves also affects their perception of their work-life balance. Ongoing management training can also help prepare your managers to balance their stress and support their teams to balance their stresses as well.
7. Promote Your Employee Assistance Program
Many organizations invest in an employee assistance programs (EAP) over and above the typical health benefit programs. These programs provide access to counselling, nutritional counselling and finance management training, all of which helps your employees balance their work life and home life. Is your team utilizing the EAP you offer? Launch a campaign to highlight the program and the ways it can help your employees. Encourage your front-line managers to provide the EAP information when they notice their team members struggling. EAPs are a very useful investment – but you need to make sure your employees know to use it.
8. Encourage Better Sleep Habits
Everyone is aware of the importance of a good night’s sleep, experts recommend 8 hours minimum. But, with a busy work schedule and family obligations it is hard to meet that recommendation. Sleep provides your mind and body a chance to restore and refresh, sleep deprivation can cause poor judgement and impaired creativity. Encourage smart sleep habits – discourage laptop and smartphone use one hour before bed. Smart habits can make a huge difference to the cognitive abilities of your employees.
9. Promote and Encourage Physical Fitness
Physical fitness lowers stress, improves health and releases dopamine – which helps with depression and anxiety. You can encourage your employees in their fitness journey in a lot of ways, offer incentives for meeting goals, subsidize gym memberships, host a virtual workout together, or sponsor fitness based events like a charity run. Helping your employees to strengthen their physical bodies will increase productivity and decrease work-related burnout.
10. Invite an Animal into the Office
You don’t want to turn your office into a doggy day-care, but having an animal in the office can provide a boost in productivity. Having a pet in the workplace reduces stress and lessens worry and cost for the pet parent. You need to have rules in place to ensure you are protecting employees who are allergic or who is not comfortable around animals. However, it can boost morale and help your employees find a good work-life balance. For remote employees you can encourage them to share pictures of their four-legged co-workers with the team.
Helping your employees to cultivate a good work-life balance will help you to keep top talent and boost your organization’s productivity, effectiveness and creativity. A job-seeker should look for organizations that takes these 10 tips to heart and provides them with a good work-life balance. Click the button below to see how you can come work for Bill Gosling Outsourcing.