Depending on the nature of the company you work for, creating and maintaining a healthy work-life balance can be extremely difficult. When you work on the clock and have set hours, it’s a bit easier to mentally separate time at work and time for yourself. However, as many remote or hybrid workers can attest, when you aren’t going into the office on a regular basis, your working hours are bound to bleed into your personal life.
With this lack of separation comes room for burnout, mental health issues, and decreased retention. In order to keep employees happy and healthy, it’s important to help them find the right balance between work and personal time. To learn more, check out our four tips for creating a healthy work-life balance at your company.
1. Provide ample opportunities for self-care.
Employees who are drowning in work may be productive for a short period of time, but we all know how a heavy workload wears on you over time. It’s important for employees to have time to take care of themselves in order to maintain high performance.
Taking care of yourself can mean a variety of different things. Starting with the basics like having the chance to eat healthy food and exercise regularly is a good way to begin thinking about self-care and work-life balance.
For some companies, this might mean providing a workout facility on-site and ensuring healthy food is nearby. Others may want to give their employees gym memberships or simply provide a more flexible work schedule where people can leave work to do their workouts when best works for them. And we can’t forget the companies who have mobile or remote teams where it’s more about paying fair wages and making sure employees are educated on important topics like self-care.
2. Recognize achievements in and outside the office.
The importance of employee recognition has risen to the surface in recent years, and it’s for good reason. An increasing number of companies have realized the impact recognition has on everything from employee engagement to performance to attracting better talent.
In order to get the most from your time spent giving recognition, however, it’s important to use a platform that understands the complexities of relationships and recognition.
Employee recognition is most commonly centered around work accomplishments. To build workplace relationships and encourage a healthy work-life balance, consider giving recognition for achievements both in and outside the office.
Whether it’s a big life event like buying a house or something smaller like completing a tough hike, those are great times to give recognition to your coworker! Not only does it strengthen your relationship, but it reinforces positive behaviors outside of the office as well! It tells employees they are supported spending time doing the things they find personally fulfilling outside of work.
3. Give support to employees in a variety of situations.
A lot of things can happen over the course of a career. From exciting changes like starting a family to tragic ones like serious injury or death, these “interruptions” can really shake up a company without proper policies in place to deal with them.
When it comes to childcare, for example, many of the most successful companies have taken the approach of giving as much support as possible. At the Patagonia headquarters, parents can take their children to an on-site daycare facility, and adoptive parents can get financial assistance for adoption fees. Some companies who can’t have a daycare facility instead choose to have a generous parental leave policy, sometimes even including an additional cash stipend for new parents.
In the case of a tragedy or difficult transition in an employee’s personal life, compassionate approaches tend to work the best for long-term performance and happiness. If an employee requires a more flexible schedule to temporarily accommodate needs, it is often helpful to give the employee that space to take care of their needs. Then, they will come back to full-strength performance faster, and your company will attract valuable workers who want to be treated like human beings.
Overall, policies that keep a holistic view of employee well-being and success do the best in terms of performance, retention, engagement, and more.
4. Be a good role model.
This is especially targeted at management and C-level executives at any company that wants to create and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Even with the most flexible policies possible, they won’t mean a whole lot if the authority figures in your company aren’t seen using the policies themselves.
Employees tend to see their higher-ups as role models for what they should be doing and how they should be acting. Essentially, they are serving as beacons for the company culture. Because of this, employees generally don’t use policies aimed at creating a good work-life balance if they don’t see others using them. For example, your company may have a robust parental leave policy in place, but if the last two managers who had babies only used a third of their allotted time, it may make others feel like they shouldn’t take the full time either in order to meet expectations.
Achieving a healthy work-life balance is no small feat for any individual, let alone an entire company. However, it’s clear how impactful work-life balance can be in everything from overall engagement to retention and performance.
Every company has a different culture and a different way of approaching work-life balance specifically. Regardless of how your company chooses to approach it, encouraging employees to find their ideal balance between work and their personal lives will jumpstart your company’s long-term success.