Simple Ideas for Creating a Work-Life Balance
Creating a positive work-life balance can be a tricky skill – but it’s also an essential one. While employees may be dedicated to their work and keen to do well within their company, overworking or failing to take time away from the job to recharge and relax can be detrimental to their productivity and their wellbeing.
As an employer, encouraging a healthy work-life balance offers several benefits. Companies that make efforts to promote healthy working practices to their staff can enjoy a more energized, productive workforce who feel valued by their bosses. In turn, firms can develop a reputation for their commitment to staff wellbeing, attracting more talent to their job openings.
Here are some simple ideas to create and promote a healthy work-life balance for employees:
- Be flexible
Working hours and personal commitments can sometimes clash. Offering some flexibility when it comes to medical and dental appointments, bank meetings and other tasks that demand time out of a working day can eliminate a source of potential stress for employees.Allowing workers to adjust their shifts, where possible, to fit in the demands of their personal lives is a simple step that doesn’t have to dent productivity – in fact, showing goodwill in adjusting staff hours should motivate workers to make up for their time away from work on their return.
- Respect family life
Supporting parents in the workplace should be a priority – word travels fast when a company demonstrates family friendly attitudes that will appeal to moms and dads looking for their next career move.Working with parents around childcare demands – on a large scale by offering a crèche facility, or a smaller scale by allowing flexible working around school or daycare hours – will be greatly appreciated by parents trying to support their growing family and raise their children at the same time. If you can alleviate a bit of that stress, you’ll help parents to focus on their professional responsibilities without worrying about their home lives.
- Promote a healthy lifestyle
A major element of a good work-life balance is good health. For workers to achieve a positive balance, they need to have the energy to tackle their work life and enjoy their home life – and healthy eating and exercise is known to help reduce stress and boost energy levels.Cycle-to-work schemes offering discounts on bicycles encourage a more energetic commute, and swapping the junk-filled vending machine for a well-stocked fruit bowl encourages staff to make healthy eating choices.
- Structure is important
Employees juggling a lot of different responsibilities or projects may suffer from unnecessary stress and pressure without a clear idea of what’s important and what needs to be prioritized.Clear communication about deadlines and what is expected of each staff member helps them to establish a productive workflow that doesn’t keep them up at night with worry. If appropriate, ensure they feel supported to delegate certain tasks, if necessary, so they don’t end up overwhelmed and taking their work home with them.
- There’s no ‘I’ in team
Creating and nurturing a successful team takes work – but the rewards are worth the investment. Clichéd as they may seem, team building days outside of the office allow for employees to get to know each other on a more personal level, in a relaxed environment – and this familiarity in turn can result in better communication and teamwork back in the office.
- Give a little back
Another way to boost staff morale and promote a varied, fulfilled professional life is to offer opportunities for volunteer or charity work in company time. Allowing staff to ‘donate’ a couple of hours a week to a charity of their choice gives them a positive break from the office environment and also helps promote the company’s commitment to staff wellbeing and corporate social responsibility.Offering team days spent at a local wildlife sanctuary or helping to litter pick at a local beauty spot motivates staff to give back to their community while inspiring pride in their company’s dedication to good causes.
- Vacation time is vital
It’s not enough to ensure you offer good vacation time as part of a benefits package, you need to ensure staff use it. Keeping an eye on the breaks staff take throughout the year – or at the very least, ensuring staff take all of their allocated vacation time – is key to a positive work-life balance.Taking a break from it all, even if just to enjoy some R ‘n’ R at home, prevents staff from burning out and letting their professional life invade their personal life. They can return recharged and rejuvenated, ready to take on fresh projects or pick up where they left off.
- Set a good example
Of course, all of these ideas and practices are devalued if management and senior staff don’t follow them too. If the boss spends weekends replying to work emails or ‘catching up’ on admin, employees may feel pressured to do the same, or worry about the consequences of not being available at all times.Leaving on time, taking regular vacations and taking advantage of the opportunities offered by the company to develop a healthy work-life balance will inspire staff to do the same. If a manager can leave his work in the office and go home to enjoy his evening, his team will feel supported in following suit.
All in all, ongoing a