Does everyone in your business feel like there are not enough hours in the day? Are they heading into the office early and leaving late? Are they scared of taking much needed annual leave due to mountains of work piling up? Are staff replying to emails via their mobile devices, even when they’re out of the office?
In the modern workplace, it’s increasingly difficult to switch off, and striking a good work-life balance is a common struggle. Improving the balance for employees can improve their overall health and general well-being. It can also help to improve their morale, motivation and general job satisfaction, leading to improved performance in the workplace. However, a study by The Australia Institute revealed that work-life balance in Australia is actually deteriorating for four in 10 people.
Some of the key reasons for this is manager expectations increasing and concerns over job security. It’s therefore important that steps are taken to help improve this.
What can your business do to support a better work-life balance?
Businesses can do their bit to help employees. If your staff are struggling to find the perfect balance between work and play, consider these seven effective work-life balance strategies:
Provide staff with more flexibility
Flexible working hours, part-time work, alternate working hours and even working from home, have been shown to considerably increase job satisfaction, productivity and lead to higher motivation. Offering more flexible work arrangements to employees can also lead to reduced staff turnover, increased staff retention and can cut absenteeism.
Support employees with technology
Employers can support a better work-life balance for employees by providing appropriate technology to aid with day-to-day tasks. By choosing the right technology tools, staff can become more organised and productive. Collaborative tools can also help staff feel less overwhelmed.
Whilst technology does help staff stay up-to-date on everything, no matter where they are, it can make it difficult to leave work at the office. In a 24/7, always-on era, it can become tempting to constantly check what’s happening with work. In fact, according to research by The Australia Institute, Australians donate $110 billion to their employers every year, simply through unpaid overtime. It’s therefore important to encourage employees to leave work at the office and switch off in the evenings. You could even set boundaries around times when emails should not be sent.
Encourage staff to take their annual leave
According to a 2016 study by Expedia, many Australian’s find themselves not taking all their annual leave. However, annual leave can provide many benefits to both individuals and businesses. It allows staff to switch off, de-stress and come back to the office feeling more motivated and productive. Encourage staff to take their annual leave and work with them to find ways that will allow them to fully switch off.
Support family time
Understanding employee family commitments is an essential piece of the work-life balance puzzle. Making your employees aware of local childcare facilities or being flexible when employees need to leave the office a little earlier to collect their children from school or childcare, can go a long way towards improving relations and performance in the workplace. Not only can it help to increase employee retention, it can also boost your company’s reputation as a respected employer.
Help staff look after themselves
Ensuring staff have time to exercise and eat well are important components of work-life balance. Ensure there are healthy options in the work canteen or provide free bowls of fruit in the office. If staff don’t have time to exercise after a long day at work, why not bring the exercise to them? You could run yoga classes during lunch breaks, or introduce a “cycle to work” scheme, similar to what they have in the UK. Not only will employees’ physical and mental well-being benefit, they’ll also have higher energy levels and less stress.
Leave your door open
Every employee is different and will deal with their work-life balance in different ways. It’s therefore important that employees feel they can communicate their needs to you. Set time aside to talk to employees, to discuss what can be done to help ease or change the situation and bring their work-life balance to a better place.
By implementing these work-life balance strategies, employees’ physical and mental well-being, as well as overall health can improve. It can also boost their performance at work, by helping people relax, re-energise and improve staff morale. Whilst creating a better work-life balance may not always be easy, it’s important to do your part as a business. Without your support, employees can become stressed and unproductive, which can lead to a negative impact on the overall performance of your business.