Seeking a work-life balance between career and family is a biggest challenge for many organisations. Due to the higher demands of life, work-life balance for employees sounds like an impossible dream to achieve. Employees tend to immerse themselves in busy work life, which often leaves them with little or no time to focus on personal life. With tight business competition amidst economic turmoil has made most people sacrifice their personal lives for better professional careers.
From HR perspective, while it is positive to see employees willingness to dedicate most of their time for company growth, which also showcases strong enthusiasm to build and contribute to the organisation. However, on the other hand, leaders should bear in mind that employees are not tireless robots. Thus, they need to have the right strategy to enable them achieve work-life balance.
There are several key reasons why business leaders should make work-life balance as an ultimate reward for employees in the New Year. First of all, well-adjusted life will make employees feel more motivated and less stressed out at work, so it will increase their productivity to meet business goals.
By balancing professional and personal lives, you can help employees improve their mental and physical health, prevent employee burnout due to overwork, lower medical-related absenteeism, reduce voluntary turnover, and eventually improve employee retention to make them stay longer in the workforce.
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Here are some ways to promote work-life balance for employees:
Embrace flexibility. Employees will find more comfortable working in a place that allows for flexibility. For example, you can arrange flexible scheduling for employees, who happen to experience sudden life events. You can also allow employees to work remotely on projects that do not require face to face meeting. This way, employees will not feel burdened to meet their personal life challenges without sacrificing on the overall business goals.
Set boundaries. Technology is just like a double-edged sword. It makes people easily stay in touch with each other, whenever and wherever they are. Using mobile devices, both employees and managers can communicate with ease to talk about the job, even when they are at home. Nevertheless, this is not healthy. Therefore, discourage your employees to respond to work-related calls and emails during their time-off so they can take a break from work fatigue.
Organise social events. Hold a social event that involves the entire employee families on a regular basis, this is an effective way to strengthen the fellowship to build a solid team. At least once a year, manage events, gatherings, sports, or even vacation together.
Work smart, not hard. State clearly to the employees that there is a great difference between work hard and work smart. This will be of no use when employees stay in the office from morning until midnight, but their thoughts are drifted to another place and unable to focus.
Instead of working long hours, it would be better if they can manage their time efficiently so that they can devote more time for family.
Offer more Paid Time Off (PTO). Whether it is for vacation, sick time, or other life events, you need to provide enough time for every employee to get a work-life balance. This way, both employees and the employer can better manage and organise absence such that the business plan will not fall apart.
Offer child or pet care. As a parent, it would be difficult to leave the children unattended. This condition often makes employees difficult to concentrate at the workplace, which eventually will lower productivity. Nowadays, more companies are offering help to take care of the children, while working. Companies can offer discounts for child day care or even invest in initiating a child care within the office so that working parents can be rest-assured.
Encourage wellness programs. One of the main priorities in the strategy is to promote work-life balance to encourage health initiatives. Long working hours often force workers to sacrifice their time for exercise and fitness. To solve the problem, you can offer gym membership reimbursement if they join fitness center nearby the office, or you can also hold mini exercise training such as Yoga or Pilates class.
Ask for feedback. The one who will feel the direct advantage of work-life balance is the employee, and you take the role as intermediate who helps them to make it happen. Therefore, ask directly what they want to improve their lives better. Create a survey or questionnaire associated to meet balance related issues, such as working hours, working parents support, or flexible shifts. Hence, you can point out the core problem and find a way to improve it.
Take the lead. Getting work-life balance is mostly easier said than done. If you believe that workers must set boundaries between personal and professional life, then you should commit to the same working habits. When the working hour ends, leave the office at once and inform the employee that you will not receive calls or answer emails related to the work at home. When workers notice that you value personal time, then they will not feel guilty for doing the same in their lives as well.
Read also: The Employee Burnout Crisis: One of the Biggest Workplace Challenge in 2017