The COVID-19 pandemic brought health and safety to the forefront of everyone’s mind, and required changes to the way we do things in the workplace. Now is also a good time to re-consider work-life balance. Though it isn’t a new concept, challenges over the past year have worn on all of us, and mental well-being is a more pressing topic than ever before. As an employer, you can take steps to promote work-life balance among your staff—which is a benefit to everyone involved.
Why work-life balance is important
Overworked employees aren’t giving their best, pure and simple. They end up stressed out and face potential burnout, which can lead to decreased productivity, human error and even turnover. The flip side is better work-life balance. Not only does it help employees stay happier and more productive on the job, but it also leads to job satisfaction and loyalty—not to mention stable and quality output, and customer satisfaction. In short, taking good care of your employees results in avoiding the high costs of employee turnover, as well as maintaining the status quo with your customers. Plus, it’s just good business practice!
How to encourage work-life balance
It really all starts with you. The first step is building in processes that allow employees to get the rest they need, and the second step is practicing what you preach.
You can encourage better balance with the following:
- Offer flexible scheduling. This includes the ability to complete work at the best time during the day, if that means shifting a schedule to be able to start and end earlier or start and end later. Remote work is also much more popular these days and a valuable option for employees who either don’t yet feel comfortable going into the office or need to accommodate for childcare. A hybrid model that allows employees to choose a variety of options is also helpful.
- Require breaks and vacation time. The human brain needs downtime to function properly. This means taking daily breaks, and using paid time off to get away for a bit. Don’t just encourage your employees to take their breaks and vacations—require it! Everyone benefits in the end.
- Review workloads. On a regular basis, talk to your employees about their workloads. If someone is struggling, take steps to offer support and reassign work.
- Staff up when needed. Sometimes, growth requires extra hands. This could include times when you have extra work (like the holiday season, open enrollment season, etc.) or when the business is expanding. Check with your staffing partner about adding temporary workers or more full-time, permanent staff.
- Lead the effort. It can be difficult for loyal and dedicated workers to take time off when they see the boss slaving away without a break—this sends a mixed message. Work-life balance only works when everyone is on board.
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