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Promoting Work-Life Balance in Your Business

As an employer, you directly impact the work-life balance of your employees. The culture you create and the example you set influences the work-life balance of all your employees. Getting the balance right boosts every facet of your employees’ lives, including their performance, health and well-being. This article explains work-life balance, why it’s essential and how you can encourage employees to maintain it.

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What does a good work-life balance look like?

A good work-life balance occurs when a person’s professional and personal lives are in equilibrium. When people get this balance, they can achieve their professional goals while also having time to achieve their personal goals. These goals may include spending time with friends or family, travelling, enjoying hobbies or focusing on their health.

What a good life-work balance looks like varies from person to person and changes throughout their lives. A 50/50 split between life and work may be ideal for some people, while others may prefer making work or personal time more dominant. For instance, the right balance may change when someone finds a partner, has children or pursues a promotion.

Some examples of employees with a good work-life balance may include:

  • A Shop Assistant works 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. each Wednesday to Sunday, with Mondays and Tuesdays off. Once every shift ends, they do not need to engage with work until their next shift starts.
  • A Software Developer works in the office two days a week and works from home for the remaining three weekdays. They can spend time with their family, when they work from home instead of the time spent travelling.
  • A Graphic Artist who works eight-hour days through the week, but has a flexible start and finish time. They start at 7 am most mornings so they can collect their children from school and spend evenings with them.

Read more: Top Workplaces: Best Work/Life Balance

Why employees should have a good work-life balance

Employees with the right work-life balance are typically happier, healthier people and better team members. These are some of the benefits of having the right work-life balance:

  • Fulfilment: Work-life balance helps people pursue and achieve their personal and professional goals. This balance leads to greater feelings of contentment and satisfaction.
  • Improved health outcomes: People that balance work and personal life reduce their risk of heart disease, stress, hypertension, depression and anxiety. When employees are in better health, they have less time off.
  • Improved productivity: Employees are most productive and efficient when they work shorter hours that reduce the risk of burning out. Balancing work and lifestyle gives employees time to achieve at work and take care of their physical and emotional health for sustained productivity.
  • Stronger relationships: People with a proper work-life balance have time to nurture connections inside and outside the workplace. This process makes them better at managing all kinds of relationships, including those at work. People who manage relationships well have better communication, conflict resolution and collaboration skills.
  • Increased loyalty: Employees appreciate businesses that let them maintain a good work-life balance. This appreciation leads to greater retention and loyalty.
  • Increased motivation: When employees appreciate their employer, they have the potential to work well for them. People with good life balance are usually more motivated than people with less supportive employers.
  • Enhanced business reputation: When employees feel their company supports their work-life balance, they’re likely to speak positively about it. Their endorsements can boost their employers’ reputation, which can make recruitment more accessible and increase sales.

How to encourage employees to find a good work-life balance

As an employer, your leadership establishes the corporate culture, including its attitude to work-life balance. Your employees will look for permission to balance their professional and personal life. The following steps will help you prioritise work-life balance in your business and promote its importance for your workforce:

1. Introduce flexible working conditions

Flexible working conditions help employees balance their work and personal lives by reducing schedule conflicts. When employees have flexible conditions, they can collect children from school, stay home with them when they are sick and make time for exercise, health appointments and hobbies more easily.

Flexible start and finish times and part-time or full-time work from home options are two of the most common flexible working arrangements. Talk to your employees to learn about the arrangements they think will suit them best. Check if employees are achieving their professional goals to determine whether they are making the most of the flexible arrangement.

Read more: 9-5 No More: Today’s High-Skilled Jobseekers Want Job Flexibility

2. Set boundaries for employees and customers

Establishing boundaries is a great way to improve work-life balance, as it ensures work responsibilities do not infringe on lifestyle. For example, you might insist that your team don’t check work emails on weekends. This boundary ensures employees can focus on their personal lives for a couple of days and return to work refreshed. Ensure customers and clients know about boundaries like this so that they can manage their expectations. Your boundaries should be flexible, as employees may occasionally need to complete extra work to meet deadlines and keep customers happy. However, your team should try to stick to them whenever possible.

3. Ensure employees use their leave

Studies show that a third of employees do not use their annual holiday leave, with 16% stating they feel guilty about taking this time off. However, using leave is essential for maintaining life balance. Promote the importance of vacation and remind employees when they have unused leave near the end of the year. You may also let leave roll-over into the next year so employees can feel comfortable taking time off won’t compromise their existing projects.

4. Schedule breaks

Taking extended breaks can enhance work-life balance, but shorter intervals are also valuable. Scheduling breaks into the workday can encourage your employees to step away from the desks for a short period. A weekly morning tea spread or Friday afternoon drinks will bring your team together in more relaxed, social settings.

The ideal break schedule is to focus on tasks for 52 minutes, then take 17-minute breaks, before focusing on work again. Try to understand this habit and encourage your employees to balance their work with personal time. They might take regular coffee breaks, browse the internet or call home daily. When employees feel comfortable indulging in these habits, they are likely to be more productive when their focus turns to work.

5. Enhance business’s lifestyle infrastructure

Enhance your workplace infrastructure with fun features that promote work-life balance. Adding an on-site gym or scheduling lunchtime sport or exercise programs can help your employees find time to work out. A video game console or pool table in your staffroom can help employees have more fun and wind down during their breaks. Consider your budget and what additions would benefit your employees most. You may like to ask for employees to vote on a shortlist of options to ensure you’re making the right choice.

6. Lead by example

Your employees will feel comfortable creating work-life balance in their own lives if they see you and your managers leading by example. While overtime may be necessary near deadlines, you should aim to leave work at a regular time each day. Participate in corporate events and let your employees see you having fun. Remember to use your annual holiday leave in full. Encourage the managers in all departments to follow these rules and develop a corporate culture that values work-life balance.

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