We’re constantly hearing about work/life balance from the employee’s perspective, but what about the angle from where you stand? As an employer, you want your staff productive, but not overworked and stressed. Pay attention to the type of corporate culture you create, and your staff will find better balance.
Is Work/Life Balance a Requirement for Employers?
Employees are working more hours than ever. They’re more stressed, juggling demanding jobs and family life. The problem has become so epidemic in the United States that a bill was created in 2010 to address the issue. Unfortunately, the Work-Life Balance Award Act failed before it could do any good.
But even if it’s not a law, providing an environment where your staff can thrive will only net you positive results. You’ll cultivate more content employees who will want to continue working for you long term. They’ll feel better harmony between their personal and professional lives. Everyone’s happy.
Creating Better Balance
No, you don’t need to implement Beer Fridays to produce blissful employees — although it just might do the trick! Be open to bending the norm as needed to accommodate for your staff’s needs. Look to other companies to see what they’re doing, and determine what will work for your business.
1. Realize That Family Comes First.
In a Marie Claire interview, Elisa Steele, CMO of Skype, tells how she panicked when she got the call that her son didn’t have his lunch. She felt she couldn’t leave work to tend to it. And then she did, and got kudos from other mothers at the office who felt the same way. There’s a sense of guilt parents — especially mothers — often experience when they’re forced to choose between work and home.
It won’t be often that your employees need to leave work to care for their families, so don’t make them feel like you’re judging them for doing so. In fact, they’ll probably work even harder for you when they return, out of gratitude for understanding.
2. Pay Attention to the Individual.
If your team is buried under a flood of work, make sure each team member is up for the challenge. Look for signs of stress: employees who snap at others, look exhausted, or aren’t performing at their usual caliber might need a day off or someone to relieve part of the work load. Make it happen, or you might lose a wonderful employee at a critical moment.
3. Test Out Different Work Situations.
Telecommuting partially or full time, flexible work hours, reduced hours in the summer. Whatever options you try, focus on maintaining — or even increasing — productivity and helping your staff feel better balance. Many telecommuters swear their days at home are the most productive in the week. Assuming the staff doesn’t need to be physically on-site, new situations might be the key to increased productivity and employee morale.
4. Don’t Be Stingy With Benefits.
You don’t have to match France’s paid vacation policy by offering 30 work days a year, but consider offering more. After all, vacation time is one of the best ways to keep employees healthy and happy.
Other benefits, such as wellness programs, preventive care, gym memberships, and volunteering days can also go a long way toward building that work/life balance you’re aiming for. Before you write these benefits off as unnecessary expenses, consider this: not only are you in competition for the best job candidates when conducting your searches, but you also want to continue to provide multiple reasons for employees to stay.