Striking a healthy balance between work-life and home-life is incredibly important and something everyone should strive to achieve. However, with busy schedules, it is not uncommon for employees to find their personal life suffering as they struggle to juggle family, friends and other commitments around work. As a result of this, employees are desiring more control over their work patterns and an overall healthier work-life balance.
The importance of a healthy work-life balance
For staff members, a healthier work-life balance would allow them the opportunity of spending time with family and friends, giving them the opportunity to engage in hobbies and essentially enjoy life more. This boost in employee happiness is directly reflected in the success of the business, with both employees and employers gaining massive benefits. These include:
- Helping to avoid employee burnout and overworked, giving them more energy and focus when they are at work.
- Improving employee health by reducing the stress and pressure they feel from having to juggle work and home-life and giving them more time to relax and look after themselves.
- A reduction in employee absenteeism is often seen as employees are more likely to go to work if they feel a healthy balance in their life and are less likely to take time off sick.
- Improving staff retention by ensuring employees are happier in their working environment. This, in turn, reduces the time spent training new staff, increases the amount of in-house expertise and boosts loyalty from staff.
- Increasing productivity of workers, as productivity is often increased when employees enjoy their role and have less stress in their life.
- Better relationships between employees and management, as employees feel appreciated and believe management is putting the needs of the employees ahead of the needs of the business.
- Employees are less stressed, less pre-occupied and more able to focus on work, leaving home issues at home and work issues at work.
- Company becomes more attractive to work for as it becomes known as the company that cares for its employees, which is particularly useful when advertising new roles in the company.
Ways to improve employee work-life balance
Many employers would like to improve the work-life balance of their employees but have few ideas as to what they can do to help. In addition, there may also be some concerns over the impact that this could potentially have on the business. However, employers need not worry, there are plenty of tips to improving this work-life balance than will have little to no impact on the company, or may make the business run more effectively.
Here are some of the main ways management help to improve employee work-life balance:
- Give employees information about what a healthy work-life balance should look like, the importance of ensuring you have this balance and how to achieve it.
- Allowing employees to work from home, instead of having to come into the office. If this is not suitable for your company or you have concerns, consider allowing employees to work from home one day a week, for example.
- Provide flexible working hours, for example, an employee must work a certain number of hours each week, but it is up to the employee how and when they work these hours throughout the week.
- Placing a restriction on work hours, for example, not allowing employees to work past a certain time or over a specific number of hours in a week. Some companies will even have a feature on their emails preventing new email from coming into the inbox during out-of-work hours.
- Focus on employee productivity instead of hours worked, for example, instead of making your staff work for eight hours, simply ask them to stay until the job is done.
- Make sure that employees all take regular breaks and follow the health and safety guidelines regarding breaks from computers etc. Even a short break will help an employee to feel replenished and more relaxed, while also giving them time to catch up on messages from family and friends.
- Look at the business and make sure that the company isn’t putting too much work on the staff, make sure there are enough staff to share the workload and that you have reasonable expectations. Here it is a good idea to familiarise yourself with some of the processes the staff members must go through, what may appear to be a five-minute job to management may be much lengthier
- Ensure management and supervisors also enjoy a healthy work-life balance, this will show employees that it is acceptable and will not be frowned upon.
- Give employees time off for things like charity or volunteer work, this will not only reflect positively on the company, but it will also give staff a feeling of satisfaction from helping others.
- Think about how much holiday time you give your employees and whether you can give them a few more days off each.
- For parents, look at what you can do to help with childcare costs. For example, a salary sacrifice arrangement for childcare vouchers will allow employees to take advantage of tax savings and reduce their childcare bill. Also, providing enhanced and equal benefits for maternity/paternity/shared parental leave will encourage all parents to balance their working life and parenthood regardless of their gender.
- Look at implementing a Health Cash plan, this will not only provide support for staff when they are unwell but also encourage a more proactive approach to things like health checks ups, leading to fewer staff absences
- Provide additional services that you think might save your employee time and money and reduce their stress, for example:
- A discount for a launderette/ dry cleaner
- Free or discounted lunches and snacks
- Gym/fitness classes
- Massage/spa discounts/vouchers
- Car support, including petrol allowance, repairs and maintenance allowance/discounts and car cleaning services discounts or vouchers.
- Tax support, providing staff help with any tax concerns, or with filing tax returns etc.
- For some free ideas on motivating employees, read here.
Another good idea is to ask your employees what benefits they would like to see, ask them how they think you can improve their work-life balance. This is a great idea as employees who are given a voice and have their opinion heard are far happier in their roles and much more productive.