Encouraging better work-life balance in your organisation
In a post-covid world, work-life balance is what distinguishes successful workplace cultures, from those that are stuck in PC (pre covid) times. Providing opportunities for your team to truly improve their work-life balance not only benefits the individual but has a positive flow-on effect on your culture, employee retention, productivity and financial growth. It’s really a no brainer!
So, what is work-life balance?
According to the OECD Better Life Index, work-life balance is the ability to successfully combine work, family commitments and personal commitments. At HR Gurus we define work-life balance as having the flexibility in life to find yourself spread fairly across all aspects, achieving total harmony. What a dream.
It’s important to remember that work-life balance does not mean the same thing to everyone – some people might find that 50% work and 50% personal life is their ideal, and others might feel that 75% personal and 25% work life is their utopia. Tailoring your approach to individuals in your business is now what is expected from different employee generations. No longer a nice to have this is what differentiates companies with great culture.
For example, Baby Boomers craved stability and the opportunity for employment so preferred to dedicate much of their time to work. Gen Xers really began the trend for work-life balance and prioritise this when job hunting. Now, despite what you might think about Millennials and the common stereotype of not having much of a work ethic, the opposite is actually more accurate. Millennials have a desire to work, to find stable employment and a career trajectory that supports their lifestyle and their life stage as many settle down get married and have kids (I.e. their activities outside of work).
Remaining flexible in this space to accommodate the needs of all your employees, is the key to a successful work-life balance strategy within your organisation.
Why does work-life balance matter?
The benefits of providing true work-life balance with your team members not only benefit them but has many benefits for the organisation too. These benefits include;
- Improved mental and physical health
- Improved personal relationships due to being more present
- Better productivity in their role (this is a win-win for both the employee and organisation)
- Employees may have an increase their mindfulness
- Increased engagement
- Reduced burnouts
- Increased productivity
- Greater employee commitment, motivation and morale
- Lower staff turnover
How can I support my employees in this space?
Developing a culture that encourages work-life balance doesn’t happen overnight but investing the time to get it right will earn you big brownie points with your current employees, make you attractive to prospective employees and inevitably set your business up for success.
Some strategies to support a culture of balance within your organisation include;
- Offer flexibility with hours and work location – this is the first thing that usually comes to mind when people think of work-life balance. Flexible start and finish times and the ability to work from home – who wouldn’t love this?
- Encourage staff to take leave – encouraging your employees to use their annual leave to take a break can go a long way towards valuing their work-life balance. And I’m not just talking a day here or there. We suggest encouraging at least a 7-10 day break for them to feel really refreshed.
- Competitive compensation – this closely links to the above strategy. If employees aren’t competitively remunerated, they can’t afford to truly enjoy their leave so it’s important to make sure this is reviewed periodically.
- Work perks such as gym memberships, wellness initiatives, team events etc – creating opportunities within the work confines to improve team member wellness clearly demonstrates your desire to improve the employee’s overall work-life balance.
- Review team workloads – be sure to regularly review each team’s workload to ensure that they aren’t becoming overwhelmed. Overwhelmed teams = working longer hours to fit the work in = burnout = no work-life balance. It’s that simple.
- Comfortable office conditions – bean bags and a table tennis table in the office isn’t the be-all-end-all, but having a break-out area for people to step away from the computer screen to relax and socialise definitely helps.
- Opportunities for professional growth – creating opportunities for growth helps employees to continually be challenged and removes the likelihood of becoming stagnant in their role.
- Lead by example – it is crucial that your leaders (think managers all the way up to the Directors) are demonstrating to the teams how to achieve balance. Taking annual leave, taking lunch breaks, and participating in the walking club are all acts that will demonstrate your desire to achieve a work-life balance.
- Opportunities for social connection – social connection encourages engagement, helps to promote overall wellbeing in your employees and essentially facilitates a culture where employees are empowered to reach their full potential.
- Focus on productivity as opposed to hours worked – this strategy doesn’t work in every working environment, so I recommend doing some research about this before implementing. But in essence, this is based on the premise that long hours don’t make you more productive.
- Create a happy workplace – seems pretty simple, right? Find out more about creating a happy workplace here.
Striking a balance between work life and personal life is no longer a choice for organisations, but a necessity to remain competitive in the market. Failing to embrace these concepts will leave you without employees, or with employees on the brink of a breakdown.
As with any workplace change, nothing happens overnight. Careful consideration and planning contribute to the overall success of any change and leadership buy-in is crucial to the successful execution of that plan.
If you need support developing a robust and fail-proof strategy to support your teams with their work-life balance, feel free to call us on 1300 959 560 to chat in more detail about your specific needs.
Written by Madeleine Hall