Have you ever wondered how to improve work-life balance for employees in your organization?
You should consider this because of how essential it is to a healthy working culture and environment.
Work is important, and many would argue that hard work is even more important.
This is because, arguably, the level of success you attain in your organization is directly proportional to the work input, and that is why many business owners are industrious.
They also demand the same level of hard work and commitment from their employees.
However, it is important to strike a balance between work and personal life.
This is for the long-term benefit of both your organization and your employees.
Organizations who implement a management style that prioritizes work-life balance show they have an active interest in their workforce.
Additionally, this balance also gives the employees a feeling of belonging, boosting their morale and job satisfaction.
On this evidence, if you are not attaching enough importance to improving work-life balance for your employees already, it’s time to have a rethink.
In a moment, you will see why that is so important to the success of your organization and your employees’ health.
Furthermore, we will review the various ways to start improving work-life balance for employees right away.
To start things off;
Employees Work-Life Balance – Definition
Work-life balance for employees means balancing the employee’s career and personal life.
Employees with good work-life balance do not hold one to be of more importance than the other, to the extent of neglecting the other.
In other words, they do not focus so much on work that they fail to have a life outside of work.
Additionally, they would not give personal activities more relevance than their work.
That is where the balance comes in.
You should be able to effectively manage both, such that one does not suffer at the expense of the other.
This is what work-life balance is all about.
The balance is measured in the time spent for these two important areas of their lives and the energy expended for both.
Furthermore, the time spent for work would involve every minute of the day used to work in an office, complete tasks, or even work from home.
On the other hand, time spent on personal life activities would include time spent with family, friends, personal hobbies, and other interests.
The same is also true of the energy used in pursuing each of these areas.
In a nutshell, improving work-life balance for employees is all about helping employees achieve harmony in both aspects of their lives.
Improving Employees Work-Life Balance – Why Important?
As a business owner, you might face the temptation of demanding a lot from your employees as far as work is concerned.
No one would blame you for this.
After all, the abiding interest and objective of every entrepreneur or business owner are to get returns on investment.
Likewise, there has always been this widely accepted notion that success is all about working hard tirelessly.
This is in no way far from the truth.
However, there is something else that is as important which could be overlooked but should not.
That is a work-life balance for employees.
Granted, it is said that improving work-life balance rests on the shoulders of the employees themselves.
Yes, it is true that as individuals, your employees should make decisions that ensure they strike a balance between work and personal life.
However, it is also something you should take up as a responsibility and ensure you put in measures to support it.
There are several benefits and advantages that this offers an organization.
These benefits would show you just how important this is.
Also, you will see why it should be a non-negotiable part of your employee management strategies.
Below are some benefits that come with improving employees’ work-life balance:
It Contributes to a Happier WorkForce
As valuable as hard work is like the saying goes: “Too much of everything is bad.”
When your employees are overworked, they can get frustrated and unhappy.
This is because there’s no opportunity for relaxation, rest, and a life outside work.
As humans, we all need the association and warm relationship with people we love to experience a fulfilled and happy life.
Little wonder many employees are happy and excited when the weekends are approaching.
Not necessarily because they don’t like their jobs, but because the need to be with family members and friends is also very high.
Also, there is the need to spend quality time attending to their own personal needs.
All these things contribute to the happiness of your employees.
Hence, if you make a work-life balance for employees an integral part of your organization, you are sure to have a happier workforce.
It Reduces Employees Turnover and Increases Retention
Do you know what happens when your employees are no longer happy working for your organization?
No need to guess. They will start looking for better alternatives.
Overworking employees or not giving them opportunities to “have a life” outside of work is detrimental to their well-being.
As a result of this, your employees might begin to lose trust and faith in your company and look for other available opportunities.
This would, in turn, lead to higher employee turnover.
On the other hand, if you implement a good work-life balance for your employees, you increase your chances of retaining them.
It Increases Productivity
Low productivity levels have been linked to burnout and increased stress levels of employees.
This stress results from overworking oneself and having little or no time to rest and relax.
Another factor responsible for a drop in employees’ productivity is a lack of motivation at work.
All these usually come as a result of a poor work-life balance for employees.
However, when your employees can effectively balance work and personal life, it improves their productivity.
This is because they are not stressed out, neither do they lose their morale due to fatigue or frustration.
Instead, they are always healthy, strong, and their motivation is on a high level.
This would, in turn, increase their productivity.
It Reduces Absenteeism and Improves Employee’s Work Attendance
One of the issues employers have to deal with in the workplace is constant absenteeism and poor attendance.
Many reasons are usually given for this, with ill health ranking as number one reason why some employees are absent from work sometimes.
When this is actually the case, not giving a work-life balance to employees can increase their risks for health problems.
On the other hand, when employees are allowed to rest from work adequately, they are better.
Another reason why an employee might be having poor work attendance might be a lack of motivation or morale to come to work.
It could also be that the employees are dissatisfied with their jobs and the organization they work for.
That is also one area in which work-life balance comes to play.
A good balance between your employees’ work and personal life will lift their spirits at all times and give them job satisfaction.
As a result, you would not get unnecessary absenteeism unless it is outrightly unavoidable.
And of course, the work attendance of your employees will improve greatly.
You’ll Have a Good Brand Reputation and Attract Talents
Truth be told, nobody loves to work for an organization that gives them little or no time for their personal life.
Even if your power of attraction lies in the money you pay your staff, it might get you these employees at first.
However, as time goes on, what will make them stay is not the money but the experience on the job.
And to be certain, overworking employees or having a rigid work system is a major turn-off to the best talents.
On the other hand, if your organization has a track record of great employees’ work-life balance, it would give you a good reputation.
This is because your present employees will spread the good words about your firm to others.
Hence, you will have more people, especially the best talents with great goals and ambitions, wanting to work with your organization.
It Increases Employee Engagement and Satisfaction
Another benefit of improving work-life balance for employees is that they tend to be more engaged in the workplace.
Engaged employees are those who offer themselves and their inputs to the growth and development of the organization.
They do not just resume work, do their work, and want to go home.
Instead, they are actively involved in what goes on in their workplace.
Employee engagement has been proven to also contribute to job satisfaction for employees.
When there is a work-life balance in the workplace, employees are happy, as we noted earlier, and this happiness increases their level of commitment.
It is this commitment in turn that contributes to the improved level of engagement from the employees and leads to job satisfaction.
Improves Interpersonal Relationship Between Employees
When your employees are unhappy as individuals, it would be difficult for them to have good relationships with their colleagues.
That is the reason why sometimes you see some of your employees come to work looking sad and unmotivated.
These might also get provoked over little things and are at the center of every conflict and disagreement in the office.
The reason is clear.
When you are not happy personally, you cannot spread happiness to others.
Also, stress negatively affects mental health and mood.
Hence the need to encourage work-life balance in your organization.
Customer Service Improves, and so Does Customer Retention
Employees with a good work-life balance tend to relate well with customers the same way they do their fellow employees.
Because they are happy and satisfied with their jobs, they provide excellent customer service and are not quickly put off even by irate customers.
On the other hand, your customers would clearly see how committed these employees are to their job.
As a result, the customers will love doing business with you because your organization treats them well.
This would further improve your customer retention rate and reduce churn rate.
It Increases Employees’ Trust in Management
Needless to say, a lot of employees do not have trust in their employer(s).
This might be because those employees do not feel the employer has their best interests at heart.
To them, the only relationship that exists between them and the employer is the official employer-employee relationship.
However, your employees want more than this.
They want to know that they are also valuable to you as individuals and as a person beyond the work they do for you.
One way you can reassure them of this is by prioritizing their work-life balance.
When you put this in your plans and make policies around this, it shows your employees that you really care.
It is a way of telling them: “See, you are more than just an employee to me, and your personal life matters to me.”
With that, the trust that your employees have in you will only wax stronger.
Negative Effects of a Poor Work-Life Balance on Employees
We’ve reviewed the importance of a work-life balance more from a business owner’s perspective.
It would also be proper to look at it from the employees’ side.
After all, work-life balance is meant to benefit the employees primarily.
Therefore, if there is no system to support and encourage work-life balance for employees, here are some negative effects that result from it:
This is a negative effect that results from doing more work than having time to rest or engage in relaxing activities.
When your employees are overworked, it increases their stress level, which in turn can cause them serious fatigue.
Of course, it would reduce their input and how efficient they would be when they are tired, especially at work.
Devoting more time and effort to work at the expense of rest can also have debilitating effects on employee’s health.
This is because stress weakens the immune system.
Thereby making them more susceptible to sickness and other health challenges.
On the other hand, if there is a healthy balance between work and personal life outside of work, these problems can be avoided or minimized.
If fatigue is like a vehicle’s overheated engine, see burnout as the engine getting knocked down altogether.
Tiredness can greatly affect productivity levels and morale, but burnout is even worse.
Burnout is caused by an aggravated stress level, making your body shut down and not able or willing to work.
This might cause employees to start missing work or not give their best at work.
Another disadvantage of not having a healthy work-life balance is that it might result in concentration problems.
The way the brain is designed and built is to work within its capacity and not be overworked.
In a situation whereby you overwork yourself, you might find that you struggle to concentrate at work.
Another way a poor work-life balance can affect employees’ concentration is to spend a lot of time thinking about other things they could be doing aside from work.
This is because their lives have been more about work.
So, they now miss the time spent for themselves and with friends and family.
Damaged Family Relationships
Employees that tend to concentrate more on work at the expense of quality time with family might end up with family problems.
This might be a marital problem when a spouse might feel neglected by their partner.
The employee might also miss out on important events in the family, which might make the relationship with other family members sour.
Sadly, many families have broken up because a spouse is “too busy” to make out time for the other family members.
How to Improve Work-Life Balance for Employees
We’ve seen the many benefits of a good work-life balance.
Also, the negative effects on the employees themselves.
You would agree it is something every business owner should give great importance to.
The burden is indeed on individual employees to ensure there is a balance between work and personal life.
However, as an employer, there are measures you can also take to improve this trait for your employees.
There are certain decisions and actions taken by employers that might make it difficult for employees to strike this balance.
Identifying these, avoiding them, and focusing on the positive ones would help you improve employees’ work-life balance.
Here are some effective measures you can put in place to ensure this:
Provide Break Periods and Encourage it
One way to improve work-life balance for your employees is by ensuring time for a break is included in your work routine.
Some organizations put so much focus on work without periods for break and relaxation during work hours.
Such companies eventually have employees experiencing burnout.
It is not just enough to provide break periods.
You also need to encourage your employees to utilize them.
You might have some employees who feel that they are strong and industrious.
And they might want to stay glued to their desks for the entire day.
As an employer who is concerned about the health of your staff, you need to discourage this.
Make breaks from work, not an optional activity for your employees, but rather a compulsory one.
Set a Good Example
Your employees can also improve in their work-life balance when they see that you do the same thing.
Understandably, you are a hard worker, and you are very committed to your business.
However, working very long hours and way past closing time into the night or even sleeping at work for your employees to meet you there the next day does not set a fine example.
It gives the employees the notion that they also have to do the same.
Another way you can set a good example in this regard is by engaging in other activities of personal interest outside work.
You might think making your whole life revolve around work sets a fine example for your employees, but it’s not.
If you do this, they are more likely to follow suit and cannot strike the needed balance between work and personal life.
But if you also make out time for personal activities outside of work, your employees will see the importance themselves.
Allow Remote Work When Appropriate
While it is true that not all organizations have the scope of work that allows for working remotely, the majority do.
Especially when your industry offers services more than physical products, it might be possible for many of your employees to work remotely.
Many employees have actually admitted that they prefer remote working to be mandated to come down to an office.
It shows the employees that you trust them to carry out their duties with little or no supervision.
Additionally, it also allows them to work around their own schedule and have more time for other personal interests.
This can help you improve the work-life balance for your employees.
Give Paid Time Off (PTO)
Paid time off is that time in a calendar year that you give to your employees to stay off work and still get paid for the time.
This might be used for sick leave, annual leave, or vacations during the year.
Sadly, some organizations still do not see the importance of this.
Instead, they prefer to drain their employees throughout the year.
While this might be done in a bid to increase productivity, the reverse is always the case.
Because working too much without sufficient time to rest and relax would eventually drain the employees both physically and mentally.
On the other hand, giving opportunities for paid time off will offer a much-needed work-life balance.
Have a Flexible Working Schedule
Many employees have admitted they don’t like spending 8 am-5 pm daily sitting in the office.
Rather, they prefer having a more flexible work schedule.
One of the measures your organization can put in place to ensure a flexible working schedule is allowing employees to work part-time if possible.
Another thing you can do is letting employees run shifts if your business modality allows that.
This will give your employees enough time to attend to other important matters outside work.
And when you do this, you are helping to improve your employees’ work-life balance.
Set-Up Health Support Facilities
Another way you can show your employees that you care about their lives and well-being and help improve them is by setting up health support facilities.
You can do this by providing a first aid kit in the office, set up a gym around the office environment, and even provide health insurance for your staff.
All these remind the employees to put their health first and balance their work and personal life.
And of course, when they take full advantage of these, you can help them improve the work-life balance.
Review Workloads Periodically and Make Necessary Adjustments
Heavy workload is sometimes responsible for fatigue, increased stress levels, and burnout in employees.
Could it be that there are some of your employees currently suffering from this?
If so, it might be difficult for them to maintain a healthy work-life balance in the office.
Therefore, what you can do as an employer is to review each of your employees’ workload periodically.
What you are looking for is to see if anyone is currently carrying “too much” work.
Some of these duties might not be very necessary and can be dropped.
Additionally, there are some employees with a fewer workload who can share the heave workload with others.
When you even things out this way, you can help to improve the work-life balance for your employees.
Wrapping Up on How to Improve Work-Life Balance for Employees
A tired, stressed, burned-out, and sad employee is of no good to your organization.
On the other hand, a healthy, active, mentally sharp, and happy employee is a huge asset to your business.
And of course, you can do more than pay them a huge sum of money to get them to this level.
A good and healthy work-life balance can go a long way in boosting your employees’ morale and get them at their best.
Therefore, make it a part of your employee management program, and you would be glad you did.