Work-Life balance

Emphasizing work-life balance and making it part of your organization's culture can improve employee satisfaction and retention. Try our suggestions on how to integrate work-life balance into your organization.

Help your staff maintain work-life balance

In an environment where employees have had to help organizations do more with less for some time now, many are in need of a healthier work-life balance.

Promoting alternative work arrangements and other ways to help staff achieve a better balance can lead to many positive results for your company – and not just in terms of keeping productivity high. It can enhance the overall health and well-being of your staff, thereby reducing both absenteeism and “presenteeism” (coming to work when ill). After all, who can work continuously under stress without eventually becoming physically run down?

Emphasizing work-life balance and making it part of your company’s culture also can improve retention. Consider the results of Robert Half’s recent Workplace Redefined survey: “Having work-life balance” was the third most important work environment factor cited by all demographic groups surveyed – baby boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y.

Helping your employees strike the right balance between their professional obligations and personal life is easier, and less costly, than you might think.

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Allow for flexible work schedules – Your company’s regular business hours may not work well for all staff. For instance, an employee who must pick up their young children from school daily could be allowed to start and end the work day a bit earlier. Others might benefit more from a compressed work week: instead of five eight-hour days, designated employees might be able to work four ten-hour days, resulting in one less day in the office per week.
  • Provide opportunities for telecommuting – Offer employees whose jobs can be done remotely the option of working at home at least a few times a month (especially those with long commutes). Email and other communication tools will ensure they never miss a beat.
  • Avoid the temptation to contact staff after hours – While technology can indeed keep us connected 24/7, resist the temptation to phone or email your employees outside of work hours – unless it’s truly urgent. Respect that your staff need time every day to “unplug.”
  • Give time off for a job well done – After the successful completion of a long or difficult project, allow employees to have a day off – or at least, a partial day – to relax.
  • Consider bringing in reinforcements when necessary – If you know when workloads are likely to peak in the year ahead (for example, around tax time), make plans now to ease the burden on your staff by scheduling interim personnel.

Most importantly, remember to set the standard for your organization. Show employees that you value your personal time, too, and you know when to step away from the laptop or put down your telephone.