Ways To Improve Work-Life Balance For Employees
Attaining a healthy work-life balance becomes a challenge for employees as they have to juggle multiple responsibilities at the workplace and at home while maintaining relationships with their family members.
So, how can employers help their employees achieve a better work-life balance while being productive at work?
From trying out different work schedules to doing away with unnecessary meetings, check out a few actionable steps employers can take to help employees find a healthy personal and professional balance.
What Is Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance is all about creating a balanced environment for employees that allows them to accomplish their job duties efficiently while giving them ample time to prioritize their personal lives. A better work-life balance enables individuals to work productively while taking care of their well-being after office hours.
However, due to the rising demand to achieve greater results, employees are struggling to strike the right balance between their personal and professional lives. This is the reason why business leaders and employers must step in to help employees achieve a state of equilibrium so that they can prioritize both lives equally.
Ways to Improve Work-Life Balance
Allow Adequate Paid Time Off
One of the best ways to help employees attain a work-life balance is by providing them with adequate paid time off. Many employers are, in fact, providing unlimited paid time off options to promote an employee-centric environment. Employees can take time offs whenever needed to recharge and refresh, spend more time with family, plan a vacation, or complete personal work.
Besides, managers must encourage employees to use their PTO whenever they need it and make sure that employees don’t hesitate or feel guilty to request time off. Managers are supposed to set the tone of the workplace, therefore, they can lead by example by taking time off from work for a much-deserved rest.
They can also demonstrate the significance of work-life balance by leaving the office on time, taking adequate breaks, and not mailing to employees when they are on time off.
In addition, employers can adopt simple practices to promote work-life balance, such as challenging employees to meet their friends and family at least once a week, whether on weekends or by using paid time off.
Try Alternative Schedules Over Traditional 9 to 5 Approach
As the demand for more flexibility has surged, employers are experimenting with different work schedules that are way too versatile and flexible over the regular ones. For instance, in the flex schedule, employees can work at their own pace; that is, they can work during the time which is convenient to them and when they feel most productive.
In other words, here, employers give their employees the freedom to do their work any time of the day or week.
Similarly, compressed workweek schedules such as 9/80 and 4/10 are renowned for their different approaches, which squeeze the total work hours of a week into fewer days. For instance, in a 9/80 work schedule, the total 80 hours of two weeks are completed in 9 days rather than ten days, thus providing an additional day off every second week.
In addition, companies nowadays are also opting for a 4-day work week to render their employees more flexibility and work-life balance.
Adopt Remote and Hybrid Work Culture
Remote workers cite better work-life balance and overall wellness, as remote working provides employees with the freedom to organize their day at their convenience. As a result, they can do their job when they feel most productive and make sufficient time for other activities outside of work.
Besides, many employers are switching to a hybrid work culture that enables employees to work 2 to 3 days from the workplace and other days from home. This schedule allows employees to interact with colleagues on a regular basis and gives them a break from the daily commute while offering more time to spend with their families.
Cut Down on Unnecessary Meetings
One of the major productivity killers is the time squandered on various meetings. With the work-from-home culture, the biggest disadvantage that appeared is that the meetings or discussions that could have been done within a few minutes have now taken the form of half an hour-long Zoom meetings.
What’s more, in order to discuss a few things with multiple stakeholders and colleagues, employees may have to block their calendars for a certain time. On top of that, some employees don't need to attend certain meetings since they don't have much to contribute, which ultimately wastes their time and reduces their productivity.
So, look into the calendar of employees; if they are loaded with multiple meeting slots, then there are chances that they may not be able to focus on their main work and may have to compensate for it by working extra hours outside the office.
Consider freeing up the employee’s calendar by discarding unnecessary conferences and meetings. Instead, establish a system of half an hour brainstorming sessions in which team members of a project can meet and discuss things in advance in order to clear any doubts or roadblocks. This is a great way to eliminate time sinks.
Build an Employee-Centric Company That Supports Young Parents
All employees have a family to look after, and the best way an employer can improve employees' morale is by supporting them with their responsibilities. For instance, many organizations are providing their employees with free backup childcare, workplace daycare, remote learning pods for kids, sabbaticals, and additional paid family leaves, so that young parents can pay attention to their young children while pursuing their jobs.
Employers should also consider providing perks and benefits such as maternity, paternity, or shared parental leaves to employees with young children so that they have sufficient time to complete their parenthood responsibilities.
Avoid Glorifying Busy Work Culture and Overworking
One of the biggest reasons why employees in certain industries feel more burnout is due to the culture of staying super busy and working extra hard. Especially in organizations where it’s a norm that overworking and taking extra responsibilities is a measure of your dedication to your job, it is likely that employees will face burnout, stress, and ultimately experience work-life imbalance.
Thus, it is crucial that employers should stop promoting a work culture where overworked employees are considered the epitome of ideal workers. Instead, they should spread a message that the ideal worker is someone who is efficient at the workplace but at the same time has a great life outside of their office. Furthermore, they should encourage employees to take ample rest and sleep every day as the well-rested employees are most productive and creative.
Encourage Employees to Take Sufficient Breaks
According to a published survey report from Tork, 9 out of 10 respondents revealed that they are more likely to stay in an organization where employers encourage their employees to take breaks in between work. Breaks are crucial as they help restore productivity and creativity levels when working long shifts.
Besides, breaks give desk job workers some time to rest their eyes and the entire body. Taking breaks in between work not only helps in increasing productivity, but also makes employees feel more engaged, energized, and relaxed.
To promote breaks in your organization, managers can leverage the Pomodoro technique method that follows the approach of taking a 5-minute break after every 25 minutes of work. Managers can also organize some fun activities or games to help employees disconnect from work for a while. Some employers are also establishing a dedicated space known as a nap area or nap pods, where employees can take a nap while at work to get refreshed.
Communicate with Employees Regularly
If you want to create a better work-life balance for your employees, the foremost thing is to communicate with your employees regularly. For example, managers can book a monthly one-on-one meeting with their team members to ask them about their well-being and workload. Let them know if they can do anything to support their wellness or need help in prioritizing their work schedules.
It is recommended that managers regularly assess the employees' workload and productivity. Suppose they witness a sudden slip in performance or an excessive absenteeism pattern. In that case, they should try to communicate with employees if they are facing any challenge inside or outside the workplace and if they can help them sort it out.
In addition, they can encourage them to avail of their PTO if they need a break from work or offer other such solutions. Besides, employers should have an open-door policy so that employees can reach out to management if they face any issues and express their concerns freely without any fear of repercussions.
Striking the right balance between professional and personal lives is challenging for every employee. However, employers can help their employees find a better work-life balance by adopting the above-mentioned ways. Following these practices will not only make workers happier and more productive but also, your company will be known to promote a better work-life balance that will help you attract top talent and retain the best ones.