Striking that perfect balance between personal life and professional life has always been a challenge. As the business landscape becomes more competitive, modern professionals’ working schedules are only getting busier—which can cause both their workplace productivity and personal lives to suffer.
As an employer, you can help by putting policies in place that promote a strong work-life balance for your employees. This doesn’t just result in a more satisfied staff right now—it can also go a long way in helping you attract future employees! Here are the basics of work-life balance and five ways you can improve it in your own organization.
What Does Work-Life Balance Really Mean and Why is it Important?
Work-life balance is a term that describes the balance of time that working professionals are able to allocate between work and other aspects of life, such as family time, personal care, hobbies, and social or leisure activities.
There are numerous benefits of work-life balance for both employees and employers that simply cannot be ignored. Here are a few for each.
The Benefits of Work-Life Balance for Employees
According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace report, 53% of employees say a role that allows them to have greater work-life balance and better personal well-being is “very important” to them. Why? A strong work-life balance helps employees feel like they are more in control of both their personal and professional lives, which can lead to:
- Increased productivity
- Lower absenteeism
- Reduced stress
- Improved health and overall well-being
- Higher motivation
- Greater loyalty and long-term commitment to their employer
Overall, a positive work-life balance will boost morale, job satisfaction, and productivity amongst your staff. In fact, employees who believe they have a good work-life balance will work 21% harder than those who don’t.
On the flip side, employees who believe they have a poor work-life balance are likely to feel the affects both at home and in the office. Thirty eight (38%) said they have a lack of focus and engagement at home, 51% report missing important life events, 41% claim feeling burnt-out and fatigued, and 36% report poorer productivity. Therefore, if you want your employees to be happy and efficient while producing quality work for your business, work-life balance must be a priority.
The Benefits of Work-Life Balance for Employers
A strong work-life balance isn’t just an advantage for your employees. Flexible working practices can help your business to:
- Boost employee accountability, loyalty, and commitment
- Improve teamwork and communication
- Increase morale and foster a more positive company culture
- Increase engagement and productivity
- Reduce staff turnover and recruitment costs
- Improve your employer branding to become recognized as a business that people actively want to work for
Overall, instilling a culture where work-life balance is important can be an incredibly powerful employee retention tool. When employees are happier and less stressed, they’ll be more productive workers, and when your staff feels like you genuinely care about their personal lives as much as their professional lives, they’ll reward you by staying loyal and committed to your organization.
After all, if an employee is satisfied with their job and work-life balance, why would they look to go work for someone else who may not offer the same benefits? Plus, job satisfaction will increase their chances of posting positive reviews on sites such as Glassdoor and telling their social circles about their positive work experience. This will improve your employer branding and make it possible to attract top talent.
In fact, 45% of employees surveyed in a Randstad Employer Branding report claim good work-life balance is an important attribute when gauging the attractiveness of working for an organization.
5 Tips for Improving Work-Life Balance for Your Employees
Finding a balance between career and personal life is a struggle for many modern Americans. Of the 38 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the U.S. is ranked near the end at number 30 for work-life balance.
Why? With so much competition in the business landscape, many employees are working longer than 40 hour workweeks. In fact, 11.4% of Americans work over 50 hours per week and 33% claim to work on weekends and holidays—leading 66% of full-time employees to say they don’t believe they have a strong work-life balance.
What can you do to improve work-life balance in your own organization so both you and your employees can reap its benefits? Here are five simple tips that can help you boost work-life balance.
1. Offer Flexible Working Schedules
Confining every employee to a 9-5 job can make it incredibly difficult to have a strong work-life balance and be there for important life events, especially for those with families. Allowing employees to take time off to pick up a sick child and stay home with them or attend school events during the day can create a more family-friendly work environment that reduces stress for your employees.
Additionally, offering flexible start/end times for parents who drop off or pick up kids from school or have other responsibilities, such as caring for a sick family member, can be a simple way to improve work-life balance.
2. Allow Remote Work
Remote work policies benefit both employees and employers in a variety of ways. Organizations will see more productive employees, higher retention rates, reduced overhead expenses, and access to a wider pool of talent. Due to reduced travel time, flexible working times, the ability to choose their own work environment, and money savings, employees who work remotely will be happier and more productive.
Due to all of these benefits, the number of employers with remote work options has grown 40% in the last 5 years alone—and those who do allow remote work policies are seeing 25% less turnover than those who don't.
3. Provide Exercise Access
One of the most positive ways to reduce stress is to exercise, but for full-time employees, trying to find time to exercise after work or fit a gym membership into the budget can actually add stress. If your office doesn’t have onsite gym facilities that your employees can use during their lunch break or after work before commuting home, there are other simple ways to provide exercise access.
For example, you could offer to cover the costs of your employee’s gym memberships or bring an instructor into the office for a once a month yoga or workout class, which can double as a fun company culture event! Investing in your employee’s health will pay off in the long-run, as healthier employees are more productive and at lower risk of getting sick and missing days from work.
4. Establish Meeting-Free Blocks of Time
Actually getting work done in the office can be difficult with so many distractions like water-cooler gossip, loud coworkers, and endless meetings. When employees aren’t able to get their job tasks done during the workday, that means they must take work home to complete at night or on the weekends, which can lead to stress and a poor work-life balance.
One workload management solution is to establish meeting-free blocks of time so that your employees can get longer chunks of heads-down work done without being pulled away every hour for another meeting. Whether that’s making the first two hours of each workday meeting free or having one large chunk, for example no meetings from 9 am to noon on Mondays, minimizing the amount of work your employees are bringing home can go a long way in boosting productivity and improving work-life balance.
5. Set Communication Boundaries
In our digitally-driven world, it can be incredibly hard for employees to disconnect after work hours when they’re always attached to their laptops and cellphones. After all, it’s not very easy to enjoy family time or leisure activities when your email inbox is overflowing and messages from a boss or coworker are pinging incessantly.
To minimize the stress that results from employees feeling that they are expected to be working and available 24/7, it’s important to set clear communication boundaries. Create a culture where employees know that it’s okay to answer the next morning if they get an email at 3:00 am, and where disconnecting after work and taking time to enjoy personal relationships and interests isn’t just acceptable, but encouraged.
By prioritizing work-life balance in your organization, both you and your employees will be less stressed and more productive! At Protected Trust, we believe that technology shouldn’t be stressful or contribute to a poor work-life balance. Instead, it should be simplified and enable your teams to achieve their greatest potential no matter where or how they work.
Are you ready to transform your organization into a modern digital workplace that empowers its employees? Reach out to one of our experts today!