While work life balance is important even if you have a traditional 9-5, it can be especially important for people with nontraditional hours, busy seasons, or client-facing roles. The time an employee is unable to dedicate for personal life can become a growing issue towards job satisfaction and possibly result in an increase in turnover rates.
What is Work Life Balance?
Work life balance is the state in which employees allocate hours between work and leisure to prevent health related problems and risk in job performance. Employers are responsible in providing a healthy balance for all employees that allows them to disconnect from work with minimal pressure. This nurtures happy employees who will work harder and more productively.
Why is Work Life Balance Important?
Work life balance is important because it helps employees reduce stress and increase their overall wellness and productivity. It helps to improve your employee engagement and shows you are a company who puts well-being as a priority.
It is important for employers to understand that more hours do not equate to efficiency. Long hours often lead to increased tension, difficulty focusing, and poor work quality. Although it may differ based on individual circumstances, employers must find a balance that allows employees to do their part for the company, while also being able to recharge and spend time with their family.
Unfortunately, some employees are unable to maintain a healthy work life balance because of their demanding jobs. This can cause poor health management and decreased morale, therefore putting both work and personal life at risk. At times, you may require your employees to stay after hours or need them to work over the weekends. However, you need to make sure that this behavior is temporary and balanced by periods of flexibility.
Strategies to Improve Work Life Balance for Employees
An equilibrium between work and life can help attract talented candidates who see that you care about keeping your employees happy. It makes for a better place to work, and boosts retention rates.
To keep employees healthy and happy, here are a few strategies that the team at Barometer implements:
Support Work Flexibility
One simple way to help improve this balance is to allow for flexibility so that employees can find time to handle personal health needs and other obligations.
Work flexibility can include allowing flex hours and work from home policies, but the responsibility goes both ways. According to Alison Doyle from The Balance Careers:
“a workplace policy of flexible schedules may allow varying arrival and departure times –as long as employees work the prescribed number of hours. Flexibility on the part of a worker could be to adjust the hours they work – coming in early, staying late, or working on an off day – to accommodate the needs of the company.”
The employer must trust employees to do their work while also being able to tend to their personal needs. It is also the employee’s responsibility to prioritize tasks that need to be done in a timely manner before taking a break or day off to resolve non work-related commitments.
At Barometer, we trust our employees to take responsibility for their assignments while also tending to their personal engagements. The trust built from day one allows our team to feel valued and to know that when unprecedented events happen, they’ll be able take care of what needs to be done, then get back to work to finish up the day.
Encourage Time Off
Encourage your staff to take time off to freshen up from stressful periods. Everyone needs time off to stay their sharpest and avoid burnout.
Unfortunately, it can be difficult to take PTO if the office culture creates a vacation shaming environment. This can cause employees to feel pressured into not taking days off and end up overburdened because they are unable to prioritize their overall wellness. Victor Lipman from Forbes was interviewed by journalist Leslie Stevens-Huffman about U.S. vacation and management policies. Huffman noted during the interview that “co-workers and bosses use peer pressure and guilt trips to discourage employees from taking time off.” This kind of work environment is toxic to employees, causing stress-induced behavior that will affect performance and overall employer engagement. A toxic environment that dissuades employees from making their health a priority will affect their performance and quality of work.
If vacation time is important to your company, make sure to practice what you preach – if you don’t take vacation days your employees may think that’s the norm and follow your lead.
Barometer highly encourages our team members to take time off to improve overall health and stability. As a result, we see our employees provide the best quality work for our clients because they can alleviate work-related pressure. Whether it is taking a day off to read a book or go on a week-long vacation, Barometer does not discourage their employees to take time off.
Establish Sustainable Work Hours
Most companies operate on traditional 9-5 hours, Monday through Friday. This allows more flexibility and leisure for employees to leave work without burden and enjoy the off hours. Although this may not seem as strenuous as non-traditional schedules, every employee’s workload is different, and for some, those 8 hours consist of hard work with no time for breaks.
Employees who work longer hours or deal with demanding client-facing projects that requires after-hours availability will inevitably encounter an increase in work-related stress that can lead to burnout if not handled carefully. Saloni Doshi, CEO of EcoEnclose, saw an increase in stress levels during the growth phase of her company. As a result, she saw a decrease in productivity levels because responsibilities were growing among her staff. To combat this issue, Doshi restricted working hours for her employees and staff to have more flexibility in their personal lives. Establishing sustainable work hours where staff can leave work until the next business day allows time in between to rest and recover.
Barometer strives to listen to employee feedback and make necessary adjustments when we find uneven workload distributed to our team. Our employees are all in this together, therefore we aim to ensure that there is enough time to reset after a hard day, and that busy periods are balanced by calmer times with more down time.
Remember, Balance is Key
All jobs are different – some require more time and attention than others. However, it is important for an employer to listen to feedback and understand that balance between work and rest is key to higher levels of efficiency and overall satisfaction. Showing admiration and respect towards your employees that work hard to help the company grow will build your company reputation and give job seekers a positive impression of your workplace. Barometer can help you uncover work life balance issues that employees address in their reviews. Learn more about how we can help!