The concept of work-life balance is something that most people strive for. Although it often seems like it’s an employee’s responsibility to achieve this balance, employers can play a large role in creating and supporting an environment that priortiises work-life balance (don’t worry, we’ll get to how). It makes sense this is the case because there are a myriad of benefits of achieving an acceptable work-life balance for businesses and individuals.
In this article, we will share the work-life balance benefits and how to achieve work-life balance.
What is Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance is a theory (and practice) that supports harmony between one’s work life and one’s home/personal life. It doesn’t mean that the exact same time or energy level is exerted in each category, but instead, it means that an employee can feel satisfied and fulfilled at work and also satisfied in their non-work aspects of life.
Neither side of the equation, so to speak, is more heavily weighted, hence the word balance. In reality, in a sufficient work-life balance, each side supports the other, rather then impacts it.
A person who is achieving work-life balance shows up in each aspect of their life with a sense of being present and the understanding to know when it’s time to switch gears.
What is Work-Life Balance in the UK?
People in the UK tend to work more hours on average than people in surrounding European countries.
In fact, 52% of workers in the U.K. state that their work eats up too much of their time and bleeds into their personal life.
As a result, many employees are turning to their employers to fix this equation and offer a solution. With employee wellbeing platforms, employers can now easily support their employees in important ways.
For starters, employee wellbeing platforms like LUME provide employees with powerful awareness tools to better understand the link between how they feel and what's impacting it. This understanding enables them to take more positive action in supporting their wellbeing and work-life balance.
Additionally, employers gain access to anonymised trends and insight in the data, showing when departments or teams may be overworked and need extra support to alleviate the overbearing workload.
What are the Benefits of Achieving an Acceptable Work-Life Balance for Employees?
On the employee side, the benefits of achieving an acceptable work-life balance are immediately recognisable. Let’s take a look at what they include:
1. Increased Productivity
Employees have the opportunity to perform better and be more productive at work when they achieve work-life balance. This is because they have adequate time to rest and engage in social activities outside of work which allows them to show up at work again refreshed and recharged.
If they are always on the clock and have no time to enjoy themselves outside of work, they may end up suffering from burnout, bouts of anxiety, and increased stress levels.
2. Higher Engagement Levels
With the right work-life balance, employees get to experience life with presence. This means that when they are at work, they aren’t worried about their home or personal life. On the other hand, when they are with family and friends, they aren’t busy refreshing their email or worrying about work deadlines.
As a result, they show up to every aspect of their life with increased engagement and a desire to align their goals with the shared goals of those around them.
3. Deeper Relationships
Work-life balance also promotes collaboration in both personal and professional relationships. When people are present, engaged, and motivated, they are more likely to face problems and challenges with a level-head.
For example, when a hurdle arises at work, employees who have proper work-life balance can work together to overcome the challenge and attack with rationality.
If an employee is overworked, overstressed, and overtired, then they are likely to shy away from problems and surpass their threshold of what they can handle. This all relates back to mental fitness, which employee wellbeing platforms like LUME are expertly-designed to strengthen through guided learning journeys.
4. Better Health
Health incorporates multiple pillars, from mental health to physical health. When an employee achieves an ideal work-life balance, they are working to promote every aspect of their health.
It’s easy to understand why: stress is a natural bodily response, but there’s only so many stress hormones that are naturally sustained by the body. Once stress surpasses its threshold and is prolonged, it can negatively impact one’s physical and mental wellbeing.
This is another reason why employers are implementing employee wellbeing platforms within their businesses. They support employees on every level to prioritise every aspect of their health.
What are the Benefits of Achieving an Acceptable Work-Life Balance for Business?
Just as work and life must strike a balance, the benefits of doing so work in the favor of both employees and employers alike.
Let’s consider the benefits of achieving an acceptable work-life balance from the business’ perspective:
1. Reduced Turnover
Satisfied employees rarely have a reason to jump ship. Staff turnover poses a great cost to businesses, from a financial standpoint and also a productivity standpoint.
In fact, staff turnover can cost a business as much as £11,000 per employee on average. By promoting work-life balance, employees are less likely to leave, which saves your business time and energy when it comes to having to acquire, train, and retain employees.
2. Employee Engagement
Employee engagement should be a metric that every business tracks, but this is especially necessary for a business looking to grow. You need to be able to trust your employees and delegate tasks in order to scale.
Employees who have time to care for themselves, their loved ones, and their work tend to be more engaged with their responsibilities and happy to be where they are.
3. Brand Reputation
When hiring new employees, you’ll often find that the talent pool will ask questions about the company culture, which more often than not point to work-life balance.
Companies that have poor work-life balance may even make headlines for operating that way, which could end up reducing the talent pool interested in working for your business. That
not to mention poor reviews on Glassdoor. Alternatively, when you promote work-life balance, your company culture is touted and desirable.
4. Increased Profitability
Employees who are engaged and happy at work tend to show up, which is the same as saying there’s less employee absenteeism.
Employee absenteeism can harm a company’s bottom line with decreased productivity and missing human resources. In turn, when employees are present, there’s the ability to expand business offerings, better serve customers, and increase profitability.
What are the Benefits to Employees of a Good Work-Family Balance?
The term work-life balance is broad because the notion of “life” encompasses so many different aspects. One’s non-work life incorporates self-care, friendships, intimate relationships, hobbies, family, and more.
Yet, family is often at the top of this list, which is why a good work-family balance is so crucial in achieving a solid work-life balance.
While we are on the topic, let’s review the various benefits that employees experience when they have a good work-family balance:
- Better time management abilities
- Capability for personal growth and development
- Enhanced levels of focus
- Sustainable personal wellbeing
- Improved sentiments of feeling valued and needed
Work-family balance helps to reduce stress, as well. Employees who have their family life in solid standing will be able to focus more when they show up at work and relieve tension.
How to Achieve Work-Life Balance in the Workplace?
With all the work-life balance benefits available, it only makes sense to talk about work-life balance tips for employees and employers.
As an employee, it’s imperative to:
- Set boundaries
- Learn to say no
- Take time for self-care
- Ask for help
- Practice mindfulness
- Prioritse your wellbeing
On the employer side, here are things that you can do to support your employees in becoming the best version of themselves and enabling them to achieve the aforementioned list:
1. Allow for Flexibility
Some flexible work practice ideas include flexi-time, part-time working, job sharing, and working from home. Allowing employees to work when and where they are most productive will benefit your employees and your business.
This sense of agency and trust can go a long way and greatly impact your employees’ ability to achieve satisfactory work-life balance. It will come down to measuring one’s output and capabilities rather than focusing on their inputs, such as the amount of hours they work.
2. Encourage Breaks and Holidays
Showcase your value for breaks. This may mean that you host lunchtime events so that employees leave their desks or encourage team-building exercises as forms of breaks throughout the day.
At the same time, provide paid vacation time and encourage employees to use it. In the U.K., a Glassdoor survey has shown that 2 in 5 employees only take up to half of their annual leave.
Employees tend to come back from holiday being more productive, so let your employees know that it’s advisable to take these breaks! After all, that’s what they are there for.
3. Prioritise Employee Wellbeing
The most important aspect of work-life balance is employee wellbeing. How employees show up to work and non-work activities and how they respond to change and challenge comes down to their mental fitness and state of mind.
As such, it’s imperative to support employees in reaching their fullest potential and providing employees with the tools and techniques to improve their mental fitness. This is exactly the purpose and mission behind LUME’s employee wellbeing platform. Here’s more about our why.
4. Ask for Feedback
Make sure to find out from your employees what they need to feel supported in their endeavors to achieve work-life balance. For some, it may mean flexible working hours. For others, it might mean having access to a gym or extra breaks.
Everyone prioritises different aspects of their work and non-work life, so it’s important to hear from your employees directly about what they want.
5. Be a Role Model
As a leader, employees will look at how managers work and take time off to be inspired. Encourage managers to be good role models by setting boundaries, taking breaks, and unplugging when they are outside of work. For example, one way to do this is to set a policy that states there is no work emailing outside of working hours.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, the benefits of achieving an acceptable work-life balance are plenty for both employees and employers alike. While every individual may have a subjective definition of what constitutes work-life balance, the benefits for everyone tend to be the same.
This is because employee mental wellbeing is at the heart of one’s ability to achieve a work-life balance, which is one of many reasons why employee wellbeing platforms are gaining rapid momentum.