Over the past couple of years, you’ve probably heard a lot about how to achieve a healthy work-life balance in order to prevent burnout. If you’re in a leadership position, you also need to be supporting a healthy work-life balance for your employees. Employee work-life balance starts at the top with managers and senior leaders.
Encouraging work-life balance benefits everyone in the workforce and contributes to a healthy workplace environment. Employees have more time to spend with their friends and families, and they have greater job satisfaction. At the same time, employers reap the rewards of improved productivity, employee engagement and decreased turnover.
Work-life balance means something different to every individual, and so you should tailor your approach from person to person. What suits one employee might not suit another, but the six tips below can help you start encouraging a healthy work-life balance in your workforce.
1. Encourage employees to take breaks
Breaks are essential for a healthy work-life balance. Studies have shown that breaks lead to higher productivity, higher job satisfaction, more balanced emotional health, and a stronger desire to go above and beyond.
The human brain needs periodic downtime to function optimally. Yet, many employees don’t take breaks throughout the workday, and some even skip lunch. This can lead to over-working and burnout.
Encourage your employees to take breaks throughout the day by blocking out time in their calendar for lunch and having gaps between meetings to create a company culture where employees don’t feel guilty about taking breaks. Discuss the benefits of breaks with your employees, and provide them with tools and tips for taking regular breaks to increase productivity (e.g. the pomodoro technique).
2. Set work-life boundaries for employees and managers
The rise of digital technologies and moves towards more hybrid and remote working have created a significant blurring of work-life boundaries for a lot of people. Workers can be on the clock anywhere, anytime. This is often seen as a positive thing, but it can be quite detrimental for employees’ work-life balance.
It’s important to set boundaries for employees and managers, such as no emails on weekends or not working after 6pm. Encourage your employees to unplug outside of work hours and remind them to put ‘me’ time aside in their workday. By doing this, you’re prioritising the health and wellbeing of your people and helping them improve their work-life balance.
3. Focus on productivity rather than hours
Rather than focus on the hours your employees work, encourage managers to focus on the completion of their tasks. There may be some days that an employee will need to work an extra hour or two to finish a task, but they also may have days that they finish their tasks early and don’t need to do a full eight-hour day. It all balances out in the end, so focus on productivity rather than facetime!
On top of this, train employees in time management skills and strategies to help them better manage their workload. Diaries, apps and to-do lists are all useful! You’d be surprised at how much this actually improves productivity and reduces time-wasting.
4. Encourage flexibility for work-life balance
COVID has certainly shown us that you don’t need to be in the office, working from nine to five, to be productive. A global workforce study has shown that 89% of employees worldwide prefer to have the choice between working remotely and working in the office. Flexibility is one of the best (and most sought-after) benefits you can offer your employees.
Staff value employers who empower them to manage their own time. Employees feel valued at companies where they know they can finish earlier to go to their doctor’s appointment or pick the kids up from school. By sending out a clear message for employees to embrace flexible working, you can help your people find a better balance.
5. Lead by example
Ensure that managers and the senior leadership team lead by example and maintain a healthy work-life balance too. Shifts in organisational culture start from the top-down. So, ask your managers to practise what they preach when it comes to healthy behaviours that lead to a work-life balance.
Make sure they’re leaving the office on time, taking breaks and not emailing employees out of office hours or expecting them to deliver work to unrealistic deadlines when it isn’t urgent.
6. Create a culture of wellbeing
Encourage regular exercise. Regular exercise reduces stress, anxiety and depression amongst employees. Set up a weekly lunchtime yoga class or do stand-up meetings. Provide access to resources to help employees practise mindfulness.
All these initiatives can help you promote employee wellbeing and work-life balance. But they need to be integrated as part of an informed wellbeing strategy to really make a difference to your organisational culture.
This is where a fun workplace movement challenge or an employee wellbeing platform can help. With a library of expert wellbeing tips and resources, wellbeing assessment tools to track progress, and healthy-habit programs, it’s the perfect tool for creating a culture of wellbeing. Employees are supported to achieve their own health and wellbeing goals, so they can feel and perform their best.
Help your employees manage stress, find better work-life balance, and boost their overall wellbeing with a comprehensive digital wellbeing platform by Springday. Learn more about our solutions or chat to us about how we can help you.