Work-life balance is not a new concept and it continues to grow in influence with each passing year. This is partly because employers are making a huge effort to appeal to millennial workers, who are projected to make up 75 per cent of the workforce by 2025.
Work-life balance entails managing workplace stress and the daily demands of family, friends and self. It’s not an easy task to strike the perfect balance between career and personal life, and there is room for improvement for companies to promote better work-life balance for their employees.
Why Work-Life Balance is Important
Work-life balance is a significant aspect of a healthy working environment. Being able to juggle work and personal life helps lessen stress and prevent burnout. Chronic stress leads to chronic aches, heart problems and hypertension, as well as having a negative impact on one’s mental health. Burnout causes fatigue, irritability and mood swings.
These health problems are bad for employers as well. A study by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau found that almost one out of four long-haul pilots reported working on less than five hours of sleep in the previous 24 hours, which puts them at risk of impaired performance. Employers also bear the cost of paying for an employee’s medical expenses should they encounter health problems while at work.
Creating an environment and culture that prioritises work-life balance allows employers to save money and maintain a healthy and productive workforce.
Encouraging Balance in the Office
As an employer, the challenge comes in encouraging workers to be engaged in the office but still have a fulfilling life outside of it. Work-life balance is also perceived differently by everyone. For example, not all millennials prefer a telecommuting schedule. Ask employees for input so you have insights into what they need for work-life balance. Make sure your words and actions are in line with work-life balance policies. If you are sending e-mails while on vacation, it sends a message to employees that they’re expected to do so as well.
Here are ways to promote work-life balance in the office without compromising productivity:
Allow employees to come in at whatever time they want as long as they meet the required hours. You can set a weekly hour requirement and allow them to plot these hours however they choose. This allows workers to get their work done and take care of their personal needs.
Long commutes have a negative impact on a person’s health and productivity. Consider allowing your employees to work from home or wherever they please.
Creative a conducive work environment
Your office design contributes to the health of your employees. Add plants and other relaxing decorations. Set up quiet rooms for those who need to focus on their work, and breakout rooms for groups who require collaboration. Consider adding hot desks for work-from-home employees who are required in the office once a week.
Engage team-building and social activities
Come up with activities both in and out of the office that help your staff connect with each other: after-work dinners, company outings, movie nights and occasional parties.
Offer additional benefits
Benefits like gym memberships, childcare services and workshops show employees that you support the developments in their personal life.
It’s challenging to strike the perfect balance between work and personal life. Supporting work-life balance allows your employees to be productive in their job and other aspects of their lives. As a result, you’ll have healthy workers and a productive office.