Balance, a term which is associated with almost everything present around us. Today’s work culture revolves around the concept of balance to a great extent. Here, the balance between ones’ work and life. Times are hectic, humans are more engaged and achieving a perfect work-life balance seems like a far-fetched dream.
The normal employee work schedule now is not only confined to usual office hours. Earlier when most of the work was manual, employees’ left their work at work. They were able to relax and spend some quality time with their families. But with the IT revolution, the entire work scenario has changed. Employees are now able to access their work irrespective of the place and time. This has ultimately resulted in a shift in the traditional work schedule.
With workload filling up each day owing to the competitive marketplace bounded by the revolving hands of the clock, workers are now more engaged in their work than ever before.
“Balance is not better time management, but better boundary management. Balance means making choices and enjoying those choices.” – Betsy Jacobson
One may view work-life balance as the approach to maintain an equal number of hours between work and play. But it’s not! Having a well balanced work-life is not only about coming to and returning from working on time. In a broader perspective, it’s about prioritizing what’s important at that time.
Like during the work time, doing the assigned tasks with complete sincerity and responsibility. And then enjoying the personal time with family and friends only after leaving work. Mixing both together can lead to a social and time imbalance.
Moreover, office works brought home and continued while being with friends and family hinders the employees’ social commitments. It affects the inter-personal relations between the employees’ and their loved ones’ weakening the deep one to one connection. Continuity of the same over a long duration creates distress. This further results in the rise of various physical and psychological problems within the employees.
The poor work-life balance of employees’ leads to a series of problems for employers too. This includes degrading productivity, lack of focus at work, fatigue, substance abuse being a few amongst them. Nowadays, employees look for a good work-life balance while looking for a new job. And this is why every company should value the importance of encouraging a company culture promoting a good work-life balance.
Poor work-life balance is one of the main reasons behind employees leaving work. This hampers both the employees and employers. Therefore, in a greater sense, promoting well balanced work-life becomes more important.
As a study by Oxford Economic suggests,“Replacing an employee cost on average around £30,000 and it takes up to 28 weeks to get them up to speed.”
Putting the focus on the work-life balance as a part of employee engagement strategy is very impactful. Employees who are able to maintain a good work-life balance are more likely to deliver the best results and less likely to leave their jobs.
WHAT CAN BE DONE FOR A HEALTHY BALANCE BETWEEN WORK AND LIFE?
As an employer, you have a big role to play here for ensuring your employees don’t remain trapped in the work-life balance feud.
As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.
Similarly, for encouraging a good work-life balance several measures can be taken beforehand.
Here are the 11 best ways to achieve work-life balance
1. Taking Time Off Between Work
Taking time off in between work helps in dealing with stress. The human body is not designed to endure long working hours in one go. Physical movements like light walks, stretching in between work is essential and particularly for white-collar employees.
Quick breaks help the body to recover from the physical and mental exhaustion endured by employees.
2. Volunteering Time Off
Volunteering is a great way to stay social and build interpersonal connections. Encouraging the employees to volunteer for social causes helps them de-stress and commit socially.
Moreover, this also helps boosts a company’s CSR i.e. Company Social Responsibility initiatives. Thus, earning goodwill for the organization and build a better relationship.
3. Proper Planning
Planning the day to day activities at work is another great way for managing a good balance between life and work. It helps the employees to prioritize their activities and work in accordance with the importance of a task.
Moreover, adhering to a well-laid plan also helps save a lot of time at work. Thus, adding more to an employees personal time for taking some rest, reading, playing, gyming, spending quality time with family friends and more.
4. Encouraging a Healthy Lifestyle
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle plays a big role in an employees quest to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Healthy employees are like the jewels in the crown for every organisation. An unhealthy work-life balance disrupts the employees physical and mental health. Considering this fact, it hampers their productivity to a great extent. Encouraging the employees to take up a healthy lifestyle eliminates various health risks.
Just like having good physical health helps one to stay energetic, a stress-free mind is a room full of clarity. This helps the employees to excel both in their career and life. A healthy lifestyle is also a great stress management solution and helps the employees cope with stress smoothly.
5. Encouraging No Work at Home Policy
Most often the employees carry their work home in order to make up for the deadlines. The inability to leave work at the workplace is a major issue resulting from the excess work-load born by the employees. Committing to work during off hours hinders the amount of rest needed by the human body.
Moreover, it leads to a social imbalance in the life of an individual by creating barriers. These barriers are mainly not able to give time to the family, friends, missing out on occasions, less interpersonal communication and many more. Employers can make sure that all these don’t happen by adopting a strict “No Work at Home” policy.
6. Flexible Work Schedule
Maintaining a good balance between work and life isn’t possible if there’s no personal time left after leaving work. In such a case, having a flexible work schedule becomes very important. Flexibility in work timings helps the employees lay equal focus on their own personal and social side of life as that of their work.
Furthermore, a flexible work schedule results in better employee productivity and works fine as an alternate stress management technique.
7. Time Management
Time management is a very important aspect when it comes to having a proper work-life balance. You may think how it can be when I already said that it’s not time but the priorities that matter. Giving importance to those priorities requires one to be punctual in everything whether in professional or personal life.
Arriving to work on time sets the employees on the fast track allowing them to wrap up their quota of work early. This gives the employees the advantage of being more efficient in their work. As well as gain the advantage of having more quality time to spend with their family and friends. Thus, helping them keep a good balance between their work and life.
8. Encourage Hobby
Every one of us has a hobby like reading a book, painting, photography, dancing, collecting old stamps and so on. A good work-life balance is not only limited to giving importance to work and family. It’s also about giving importance to the things that one loves doing on a personal level. With all hue and cry between managing work and family, we often miss feeding our own hopes and aspirations. Having a hobby encourages an employee to take up some time for themselves. This indeed helps them fulfil the thirst of good life according to an employees preference. Having a hobby helps the employees to make up time for themselves even amidst their tight schedule.
9. Encourage Work From Home
Encouraging work from home at least once a week or when an employee desire helps them detox from the daily stress at the workplace. Working from home with the loved ones nearby or pampering the pets while working leaves a positive impact on an employees mind. When employees have such benefits it frames a great sense of gratitude in their minds towards their employers. It also makes them the advocates for your organization. Thus, giving the boost to a great employee and employer relationship.
10. Paid Vacations
In today’s time, vacation is no longer a luxury, rather it’s more of a necessity. It’s high time employers realise how vacations from work have become an important part of today’s work culture. Letting the employees take long breaks without sacrificing their wages is very effective. Employees feel more rejuvenated and relaxed after returning to work yielding better productivity.
11. Time to Time Feedbacks and Work-life Balance Surveys
Time to time assessment of the employees is an essential part towards creating a healthy work environment. Situations may differ with the changing time and keeping a track on these changes becomes very important in order to put effective solutions in place. These enable the employers to fix problems which may act as blockades towards achieving a healthy work-life balance.
Taking feedbacks and conducting surveys from the employees further helps organizations to know them better and work on the issues raised.
Few benefits that a healthy work-life balance can bring to your employees
The importance of a good work-life balance can also be determined by the fact that it yields:
A Decrease in Employee Health Problems
“Employees working three or more hours longer than the work schedule had a 60% higher risk of experiencing heart-related problems”, as found in a study by UCL.
Overworking and stressed employees not only hamper their productivity but also put their physical and mental health at great risk. Being humans, their body also demands rest just like everyone else.
Poor balance between work and personal life can be held responsible for various health problems. Overworking for a long period of time continuously can lead to various physical ailments like poor vision, backaches, headaches and more. Also, the stress endured due to overworking is one of the prime reasons for many respiratory and heart diseases.
Encouraging your workforce to adopt a more healthy work-life balance not only helps them cope with stress but also decreases various health risks.
Enhanced Employee Mindfulness
Employees working under work pressure are prone to various mental ailments like workplace stress and anxiety. It is a known fact that demotivated employees tend to lose their focus at work which hampers their productivity.
As a result, organizations too suffer from the challenges of an unproductive workforce. A healthy balance between work-life eliminates this issue to a great extent. When employees feel relaxed and satisfied at their work, they develop a better focus on their work. It also helps them gain more control over their work thereby delivering the best results.
For an employer having people who are focused at their work is the perfect key to unlock better productivity and achieve the desired goals.
Increased Employee Engagement at Work
Motivated employees are the real gems of any organization. It is their contributions which drives their respective companies to success. But very often poor work-life balance creates a barrier for them to engage themselves at work completely. Absenteeism, fatigue, sick leaves are some of the problems hindering employee engagement at work.
Encouraging employees to achieve a good balance between work and life will help improve the company’s overall work culture. Having better employee engagement also helps the companies to attract the top talents. Thus, emphasizing on the need for a healthy work-life balance.
Decreased Employee Burnout Rate
Increasing work pressure is one of the major problems for employees these days to quit their jobs. Overworked employees are the ones who are the worst affected. Also, employees who are under the pressure of meeting deadlines get exhausted both physically and mentally.
As an employer, you may know well how extreme workload hampers the employees. Taking measures for stress management for establishing a well balanced work-life is the best way to ease the workload.
AT THE END
IS MANAGING A HEALTHY WORK-LIFE BALANCE REALLY TOUGH?
“Don’t confuse having a career with having a life.” – Hillary Clinton
Most often people think of having a good career as having a good life. But it may not be always the same way. Every day an employee faces different situations which often requires to be dealt with different approaches. Let alone their workload, there are other factors too which result in disrupting their daily time schedule. This reflects back as having less or sometimes no time for themselves. Thus, hindering their work-life balance.
A healthy balance between personal and proffesional life is not only about maintaining a perfect timing. Properly classifying how to use the time at work for ones’ advantage to gain time for family, friends and oneself is what it actually means.
Implementing a healthy work-life balance becomes easier when proper measures are taken keeping in mind the problems faced. Most importantly, prioritizing the work based on their importance makes the approach towards a better work-life balance much easier.
Decoding and Driving Employee Engagement