Work-life balance is defined as a worker’s ability to respect a healthy balance between work commitments, personal responsibilities, and life at home with their family. Businesses are becoming more and more attuned to the importance of helping their people to achieve such a balance as more employees feel the effects of conflicts between their commitments at work and their personal lives. Is yours the same?
Nowadays, many employees are experiencing greater personal responsibilities, from childcare to elderly care, to interests outside of work, and of course commitments with family. Increased distances to other family members only deepen the trend. This is also in a context of increasing work obligations, which creates a conflict between their personal and work lives and a marked increase in stress.
There is another factor that certainly contributes to the work-life balance conundrum. As more and more companies begin to move into to the information age and adopt globalised business models, work is no longer confined to the office. Staff can work from anywhere in the world via laptops, tablets, and smartphones; and remote work is a growing trend. Staff can log in to work emails and projects at all hours, leading to always-on culture and unreasonable demands from bosses and clients.
Whilst of course there are a multitude of benefits to working flexibly in this way, a natural consequence can be a lack of separation between employees’ work and personal lives. Remote working also generates the problem of staff working well beyond the typical 40-hour workweek.
The result of a poor work-life balance not only affects your staff, but it also create a damaging effect on the employing company itself. Worker stress can lead to mass burnout, reduced productivity, increased likelihood of stress-related health problems, absenteeism, and other sickness costs that the business will ultimately have to bear.
In addition to this, you may also see a deterioration in your people’s interpersonal relationships, or a reduction in employee satisfaction.
There are many ways in to fight back and encourage a work-life balance for your people. A classic option would be to offer your employees flexible working times and allow them to design a work schedule around their personal responsibilities. Flexible working schedules can extend to offering your people the chance to work from home, adjust their working hours to meet personal commitments (within reason), creatively-planned work weeks, job sharing or other initiatives.
Leaders could encourage their team members to prioritise their wellbeing, and introduce wellness strategies into the organisation that allow their staff to rebalance their work and personal lives. This could include offering stress reduction and time management workshops, or health and wellness benefits schemes such as those supported by ZenDays.
Your people’s satisfaction in their personal lives can greatly impact their success at work, and this can have a significant impact on both company culture and financial results. Helping your staff to achieve a good work-life balance positively impacts job satisfaction, increases employee loyalty, and helps employers to attract and retain top talent. This can be invaluable to company success.
What does your company do to support employee work-life balance?