How management can help create a work-life balance for employees
For modern employees, striking a perfect balance between work and personal life has been a challenge. Not only do employees have busier work schedules, the presence of technology makes it difficult to draw a line between where work ends and where personal life begins. With smartphones and laptops, employees may find themselves dealing with work issues when at home to a point where even though they are physically at home or on holiday their mind is at work. According to a recent Americans Psychological Association, 44% of employed people check work messages at least once a day while on holiday. Clearly, there is a need to draw a line between work and life.
Maintaining a work-life balance is important for both employees and organisations. Well balanced employees have better control of their lives and form better relationships with management and colleagues. In addition, employees are well motivated and less stressed at work, which leads to improved productivity from which management benefits. Organisations with a reputation for encouraging work-life balance are recognised as great places to work and often attract the best talent in their industry. They also enjoy lower levels of employee turnover, saving them time and money.
It is therefore in the best interest of organisations to help their employees create a work-life balance. Here are some ways through which the employers can promote a healthy work- life balance for their team:
Create a consistent environment
Consistency makes employees less anxious because they know what to expect at work in terms of time, schedules and other variables. For example, consistency in working hours can help employees plan better so that they are able to spend some time with their families. Knowing that they can leave work say at five in the evening, they can schedule family activities comfortably. The same consistency can be applied during leave days. The organisation can help maintain this consistency by limiting after work calls and emails as well as communication during employees leave days. A good example of such an organisation is Huffington Post whose founder and CEO, Arianna Huffington discourages employees from responding to emails after work. In addition, Huffington created an opt-in vacation email policy which can automatically delete or archive emails while they are on holiday, so employees can completely unplug and have some personal time.
Ask employees for input
An organisation may recognise the need to create work-life balance for employees, but not know how to do so. If you suspect that employees are struggling to balance work and their personal lives, consider asking them what changes they would like to see in the workplace. Facilitate a discussion that will bring out various strategies that could be considered.
Model the work-life balance
Employees often look to management for direction, albeit non-verbal. Knowing the importance of employees taking time off work and focusing on their personal life, consider modelling the behaviour you would like them to embrace. For example, avoid taking work home, leave the office at the official time on certain days, discourage emails after work and take your leave days as scheduled. Sometimes employees stay at work longer than necessary because they are concerned about what their employer would think if they didn’t stay over time. Setting an example for employees to emulate shows them that it is acceptable to take some time off to focus on their personal time.