When your employees show up to work, you hope that they will be engaged and fully focused on the job. However, that’s not always the case. Oftentimes, employees are dealing with so much outside of work in their lives that they have a hard time compartmentalizing. The benefits of achieving an acceptable work-life balance make all the difference in productivity levels, engagement, and overall mental wellbeing.
In this article, we will share work-life balance tips for employees and how to achieve work-life balance.
What is Work-Life Balance?
The idea of having a work-life balance is all about a positive balance between work and home life (or anything outside of work). While time spent at work does play a large role in achieving a work-life balance, it’s not necessarily the case that equal time has to be spent working and equal time spent tending to home life.
With that said, extensive hours at the office will contribute to decreased work-life balance because it doesn’t leave employees with time for anything else.
According to a recent study out of the U.K., a large number of employees who were surveyed (30%) say that they feel unhappy at work. From the same survey, negative work culture, micromanagement, and long working hours all contributed to their sense of unhappiness.
When a person is able to achieve an acceptable work-life balance, they are able to be present and engaged with what they are doing at the given time. Their mind is focused on work when they are at work and on other responsibilities when they are dealing with them, instead of worrying about work.
What are the Benefits of Improved Work Life Balance?
The benefits of achieving an acceptable work-life balance positively affect employees and employers.
Let’s take a look at the advantages on both sides of the equation.
From an employee perspective, the importance of work-life balance contributes to:
1. Increased Productivity
Employees who are able to be present at work and focused will end up being more productive. They can handle being accountable for their work and see the value that they bring to the business. Without a work-life balance, employees may show up to work but be mentally checked out or somewhere else, which affects their ability to perform.
2. Less Stress
When feeling like they have a work-life balance, employees can better manage their stress levels. If someone feels like they don’t have time for themselves, their family, or enough time to get their work done, then they will feel overwhelmed. But, if they feel they can manage everything on their to-do list and separate work and life, they will be more content.
3. Greater Loyalty
An organisation that cares about employees’ mental wellbeing and ability to balance work and life will breed a workforce that is more dedicated and loyal to the business. When properly cared for and supported, employees have less reason to search for a job elsewhere.
4. Better Mental Wellbeing
Overall, the ability to have a work-life balance is necessitated by prioritising mental wellbeing. When employees have a work-life balance, they also are able to better support their own mental wellbeing.
This is because stress, burnout, and feelings of overwhelm have negative consequences on a person’s state of mind and their health. Employee wellbeing platforms can help employees and employers to support people in becoming the best version of themselves by strengthening their mental fitness.
With techniques and tools to build resilience, employees will have what they need to set boundaries, take breaks, and care about their own wellbeing. Ultimately, this is needed in order to promote a positive work-life balance.
A business with happier and satisfied employees will undoubtedly reap benefits, too. Take a look:
1. Lower Employee Absenteeism
Employee absenteeism refers to constant and unexcused absences. Employees tend to take these types of absences when they feel stressed or overwhelmed at work or even outside of work.
This decreased sense in their ability to get things done may lead them to tap out or not show up to work. When employees have less stress and are able to manage their workload and responsbilities outside of work, the chance of employee absenteeism is naturally lessened.
2. Boosted Productivity
Enhanced productivity positively impacts the business as employees get more done in the same amount of time. They are more focused and able to produce outputs at their highest level of potential, which can impact the business’ bottom line and overall team morale.
3. Enhanced Staff Morale
Speaking of staff morale, when employees are supported in work and life and are respected in the boundaries between the two, they are more satisfied in their jobs. With higher levels of satisfaction and happiness comes enhanced staff morale.
4. Stronger Customer Service
Employees that are aligned with achieving business goals will also support customers better. The trickle-down effect can end up increasing the business’ bottom line and customer retention rates, too. It’s in everyone’s best interest to keep everyone happy!
5. Increased Retention
Absenteeism tends to lead to turnover. When absenteeism is lowered, the chance of staff turnover also diminishes as employees are happy with their job and content with their way of life. This means that they are more likely to stay with the business for longer, which means that HR teams have one less thing to worry about.
How to Improve Work Life Balance?
The question of how to achieve work-life balance is common amongst employees and employers. The tricky thing about it is that every individual has their own needs and desires. As such, work-life balance tips for employees may have different effects for each person.
On the employer side, you can make a huge and positive difference in promoting adequate work-life balance for your team.
Here are a few ideas worth implementing that tend to do the trick!
1. Offer Flexible Working Opportunities
There’s only so much time in a day, and sometimes, employees feel overwhelmed because they have a lot to get done at work and at home. While it may not seem like a big difference, offering work-from-home or flexible work schedules can have a grand impact.
The reduction of commute time or ability to get home tasks done while remaining productive on the job can alleviate pressure on behalf of employees. If you’re able to support flexible work options like part-time working, job sharing, or remote working, it may be worth a shot.
2. Promote Breaks
Some employees may be really committed to getting their work done, but they could also be sabotaging their own work-life balance. If they don’t know how to step away from the computer or task, then they run the risk of burning themselves out.
As an employer, promote break time! You can do this by scheduling exercise classes at the office, hosting lunch and learns, or even having short stretching breaks throughout the day. Small breaks end up resulting in greater productivity.
3. Run Rewards and Recognition Programmes
Many employees share the sentiment of feeling undervalued or underappreciated at work. To overcome this risk, you can implement reward and recognition programmes to applaud employees who are putting in the effort.
While this may not seem to directly translate to work-life balance, it actually does. When employees are recognised and rewarded for their work, they know that they are doing a good job and feel appreciated.
If they are unsure of this sentiment, then they may always feel like they have to do more or be stressed that they aren’t doing enough. The uncertainty of where they stand can hinder their ability to achieve a work-life balance as they may put in more hours at work, worry about work outside of the office, and feel a decreased sense of confidence.
4. Support Mental and Physical Wellbeing
It’s of utmost importance to prioritise your team’s mental wellbeing. Mental wellbeing also has a direct correlation to physical health. When employees are able to care for their own mental wellbeing, they are able to better manage their time and life in and out of work.
If their to-do list is becoming too burdensome at work, they will be able to set boundaries or say no to protect their mental wellbeing. Employee wellbeing platforms can help to reduce workload pressure.
Employees have access to evidence-based knowledge and tools that aid them in managing stress and deepening their own understanding of their own state of mind and needs. With greater optimism and lower stress levels, employees tend to feel more able to ask for help and have increased resilience when situations become challenging.
Every organisation hopes to reap the benefits of achieving an acceptable work-life balance, and every organisation has what it takes to do so! It all starts with being aware of work-life balance examples, the importance of work-life balance, and the role that employee mental wellbeing plays in it all.
By supporting employees’ mental wellbeing and implementing some of the ways to achieve work-life balance, your business can experience increased productivity levels, a more satisfied workforce, and decreased absenteeism.