One of the single best things you can do for your employees is create an environment that encourages work and life balance. This will increase the happiness, health and productivity for your employees, making your business more efficient. Companies that gain a reputation for this balance tend to enjoy higher employee retention rates, and draw a valuable pool of candidates for new job openings.
Employees need time to spend time with family, focus on their personal health, and have opportunities to pursue hobbies. This environment starts at the top. As the employer, follow this guide to promote a healthy work-life balance for your team.
Ask your employees what they need
You can’t create an effective plan if you don’t know what works for your employees. Ask your team to fill out a survey that covers various balance-related factors, including hours worked, flexible scheduling, support for working parents, interest in remote work, etc. This will help you identify which areas your company needs to improve, so you can focus on implementing solutions for problems that actually affect your employees.
Set communication standards
Nowadays, everyone brings their work home. Encourage your employees to “unplug” from work emails when they get home or after a certain time. As the boss, you need to follow this rule personally as well. An employee who receives a late-night email from you is likely to feel an obligation to respond. Use a tool like Boomerang to draft after-hours emails that are sent the following day.
Allow flexible hours
Create a schedule that gives your employees opportunities to work when it is most convenient for them. There are several ways to do this:
- Provide a weekly hour requirement, but allow them to space the time out however they choose (10 hours on Tuesday but 6 on Wednesday, etc.)
- An hour range, such as 35-40 hours per week
- No requirement, as long as the necessary work gets done.
Consult the survey you completed with your team to discover what works best for them. This allows employees to easily attend appointments, children’s performances, or take a visiting friend to lunch. This relieves a lot of stress from counting sick hours, or asking permission for every small absence.
allow telecommuting if appropriate
Create a remote working option
If possible, allow employees to work from home 1-2 days a week, such as on Fridays. This can be particularly desirable for those who are taking care of children or elderly parents in their home. Of course, this does not work for all businesses, but it could be worth experimenting with. Some employees may find they are more productive while at home, eliminating distractions from chatting co-workers or small menial tasks.
Sponsor office events
Putting on office-wide events that allows employees to bring their families or significant others helps build a connection between home and work. Picnics, outings to bowling alleys or fairs, or seasonal parties are great ways to provide social events for employees. This after-hours bonding time will strengthen your team and build excitement for your business.
Encourage healthy living in your employees with onsite gyms or discounted gym memberships. Encourage a weekly office-wide yoga class, or cater a healthy lunch (i.e. not pizza!) during the next company meeting. Participate in a 5k as an office, and provide rewards for the most miles run during training. Employees will appreciate that you honor their health as much as they do.
Lead by example
Your employers will only give themselves as much of a break as you do. Therefore, show them the power of a great work/life balance. If you want employees to utilize flexible hours, make sure you leave the office by 5pm once a week. Share your hobby with your employees, or encourage a long lunch break. Create a supportive environment and you’ll have a company that people will be dying to work for!