Encouraging workers to maintain a healthy work-life balance is extremely important. A healthy balance improves overall morale and workplace engagement, and it can also help improve retention rates of your business. Overall, the impact of work life balance on employee performance can be huge.
In one of our previous insights we talked about the benefits of maintaining a healthy work-life balance for HR Directors. But what about your other workers? Work-life balance should extend to everyone in the business from top to bottom. Business leaders will benefit from understanding how to promote work life balance.
So how can you work to improve and encourage employee work-life balance? Well, there’s quite a few different things you can do to achieve this, from promoting fitness to flexible working hours.
In the modern workplace, many workers have grown accustomed to spending the whole working day sitting at their computer. They might even then go home, only to sit down in front of the television. This isn’t a healthy lifestyle, and even just a little exercise can go a long way to improving your health. Workers who are healthier in body are healthier in mind, and will be able to work more efficiently.
Promoting physical activity in your workplace can be a great incentive for employees to keep in shape. In fact, many companies today offer health-encouraging incentives which employees can use to earn rewards.
For example, you may consider providing ‘Fitbits’ for employees. These can be used to measure and encourage daily exercise. Some companies even offer rewards for hitting targets, such as free cinema tickets or food deals.
This is a great method of encouraging fitness by offering tangible rewards. You may also consider offering discounted gym memberships for workers.
A healthy employee is a motivated employee.
Working full time as well as managing your own family can be very tough. Especially for workers with children, some people may feel like there’s not enough time in the day to get everything done. This can be incredibly stressful and severely impact both work performance and home-life.
This is why some businesses choose to encourage more integration between workers’ home-life and work-life. There are various ways of achieving this, but perhaps the right way for you completely depends on your business culture and environment.
Have you thought about flexibility for workers with children? What would your business do in the case of an employee needing to attend to their children during the work week?
Some businesses like to create a comfortable atmosphere in which workers are free to bring in their children if necessary. Of course this might not be ideal for you if your office or employees aren’t very accommodating to potentially disruptive children! Luckily, there is another option…
Flexible Work Locations Where Possible
We know that business managers and directors like to keep a watchful eye over their workers. There are many benefits to office work, not least being able to monitor how each employee is working. However, have you considered offering more flexibility for potential out-of-office work, where possible?
Studies indicate that more than three quarters of workers feel the key to office productivity is to get out of the office. 30% believe they complete more work in less time! Now of course this doesn’t mean you should shut down your offices and make everyone work from home.
Allowing employees to work remotely can improve employee work life balance. This will be a great benefit for employees who have to work around their children, or those with transport issues.
Flexible Work Hours
In a similar manner, many employees appreciate being able to work their personal schedule where possible. People often have hectic home lives, with appointments to make and obligations to fulfil. Offering flexibility in working hours can be a good way of improving employee morale by helping them manage their home life more effectively.
You don’t have to abolish the 9-5, but a little flexibility is sure to please workers and promote a healthy organisation culture. This could be as little as allowing someone to stay two hours longer on Thursday, and finish two hours earlier on Friday.
It could be as flexible as allowing someone to work Saturday instead of Friday to take care of the kids. It’s up to you, but remember to be consistent! Make sure all employees are offered the same level of flexibility.
Create A Friendly Atmosphere & Bring Employees Together
If you want workers to be motivated, you’ve got to make them want to come into work. You can help achieve this by creating a friendly, welcoming atmosphere and bringing your employees closer together. By doing this, workers are much more likely to come into work happy, and leave happy.
By encouraging workers to interact and creating a comfortable office space, they’ll feel more at ease at work which can improve the overall mood a great deal.You can help bring employees closer together by offering team outings and incentives such as days out of the office, trips, and group activities.
Do you have an office football team? What about regular team meals? Bonding experiences like this can go a long way in improving the friendliness of your work environment and business culture.
Options for Relaxation on Breaks
For many workers, the rush of everyday life doesn’t stop at lunch. Running out of the office to run errands and get lunch, only to come back and eat at your desk can be a tiring regime.
Why not consider implementing relaxation facilities in your office, even in just the form of a ‘break out’ area. Something as simple as a room with a few sofas, a television, and free refreshments can help workers relax during their lunch break. This can keep them well rested, recharged, and ready to tackle an afternoon’s work.
In addition, breaks can tie into flexible working hours where possible. For example, allowing workers to take longer lunches in exchange for working earlier/later.
If possible try keeping business chat to a minimum during lunch hours. Employees will feel more at ease unwinding if members of management talk to them about their home-life during these times.
Rather than asking ‘what are you going to work on this afternoon?’ ask ‘what are you up to this weekend?’. Engage with their hobbies and encourage them. Your workers will be happier knowing that you understand and support their leisure time. Though small, this is one of the easiest ways of promoting work-life balance.
Keep Engagement Levels Up
The importance of employee engagement can’t be understated. Engagement is the root of every worker’s motivation and drive in the workplace. If employees aren’t engaged in their work, they won’t be performing to their full potential.
There are many different ways of improving employee engagement. For more detailed insight into how you can improve and maintain employee engagement in your business, take a look at our insight; A HR Directors Guide To Workplace Engagement.
Quality leaders are understanding of their workers’ wants and needs. Taking a more personal approach to employee relations can help employees feel valued and boost morale. Be empathetic, take the time to sit down with employees and go through any issues they might have. They’ll certainly appreciate the effort made.
Look after your workers. Familiarise yourself and others with common signs of overwork. Due to the stigma that surrounds burnout, employees can be reluctant to admit that they’re overworked or stressed out.
Offer support to workers you believe might be overworked. You can suggest time off, or simply to talk through how they’re feeling. Whatever’s necessary, make sure all your workers are performing to their full potential.
Promote the Importance of Time Off
Unfortunately, there’s a stigma attached to taking time off from work. Many businesses expect their employees to work in some capacity even when they’re off sick or on holiday.
The fact is that time-off is essential for workers in order to remain motivated. Your holiday allowance should be fair. Allow your workers to switch off when they’re on holiday!
To maintain a healthy work-life balance, employees should be able to take holidays without the need to constantly check their phone. The same applies to sick days. People get ill, it happens and it’s unavoidable.
When workers are ill, pressuring them into doing work may only make it worse. Allow your workers time and space to fully recover and come back into work healthy and recharged. This prevents workers being afraid of getting sick and making themselves worse by trying to work through it. It just doesn’t work.
Promote Working Smarter Over Working Longer
The notion that working longer hours means working better is deeply ingrained into many business cultures. But why is this? Why should employees be pressured into working longer, when they should be working smarter?
This can produce the same results in less time. Encouraging unnecessary overworking will only burn workers out and damage their work-life balance.
Think about it; would you rather have a business of employees who work long hours but who are always tired? Or would you rather have employees who work shorter hours, but are alert and produce a higher quality of output?
Eliminate the competition of overtime. Abolish the idea of ‘I stayed the longest last night, so I’m the best worker’. In place, promote smart, efficient working.
Whatever You Do, Lead By Example!
Now you know how to promote work life balance for your workers, it’s time to put some of these ideas into action. It’s up to the senior management to promote employee work-life balance and lead by example. Actions speak louder than words, after all.
Encouraging this healthy balance not only increases employee morale, it also helps your own company image. Promoting work-life balance shows that you value your employees as people, not just as working machines.