Five top tips to improve work-life balance for staff
Lee Biggins, founder and CEO of Resume-Library discusses his top tips for improving a work-life balance for staff.
As competition for top candidates intensifies, attracting new and retaining existing employees is incredibly important. Many businesses assume that offering a high salary is the best way to get new applicants in the door and keep existing employees happy; but that isn’t necessarily the case.
Of course, offering fair pay is still important. But professionals are increasingly becoming more interested in roles that offer a good work-life balance. This isn’t surprising given that more people are suffering from poor mental health.
As such, in order to avoid losing staff and to ensure you stay ahead of the competition, it’s vital that you improve the work-life balance of your employees.
If you’re not quite sure how to get started, here are our top five tips to set you on the right path.
1. Improve Communication
It may seem simple, but a breakdown in communication between you and your team can be incredibly harmful. If your employees feel as though they can’t come to you with any struggles or worries, they may end up working ridiculously long hours or taking work home with them.
While they may get the job done in the short-term, the quality of their work is likely to be lower; and it’s simply not sustainable. Ultimately, this will force valuable team members to leave your business; resulting in high staff turnover and damage to your employer brand.
Not only will it cost you time and money to hire new team members, you might struggle to find replacements. So, rather than heading down this path, be sure to instil an ‘open door’ policy within your organization. This should enable any team members to come to you for advice if they’re struggling.
Take the time to listen to their problems without judgement or blame. You can then help them prioritize their workload or find a solution to the problem. Over time, this will drastically reduce the number of hours they’re putting in outside of contracted times; helping to improve their work-life balance.
2. Make Regular Catch-ups Mandatory
It’s also important to ensure your employees are having regular mandatory catchups with their line managers. Improving communication is one part of the puzzle. But it doesn’t change the fact that some employees won’t feel comfortable admitting that they’re struggling.
Managers play an important part in spotting whether an employee is overloaded; and intervening before it gets out of hand. Whether employees are having difficulty with time management, prioritizing tasks, or working with other team members, it provides an opportunity for your managers to help.
As part of this, make sure your managers are offering practical advice without judgement, and that they’re redistributing any tasks that have been assigned unfairly. As your employees put this feedback to use, their stress levels should reduce; and with any luck, they’ll no longer feel the need to work outside of their contracted hours.
3. Offer Flexible Working
Juggling responsibilities at home and in the workplace is tough; and many employees feel guilty taking time off work to head to the doctors or fix a leaking pipe. Eventually, this might mean your employees try to make up the time – even if they’re still on track with their daily tasks.
Implementing a flexible working policy enables employees to fit their work around commitments at home. This could help to make it easier for your staff to attend appointments or pick up the children from school; ultimately giving them a healthy work-life balance.
It’s true that this will require a different style of management, but employees do respond well to being able to manage their own time. Rather than assessing productivity by the number of hours your team member works, try to measure it on whether they complete their assigned tasks. As long as they continue to deliver results, flexible working shouldn’t be a problem.
4. Offer Great Perks
Nearly every employer is jumping on the ‘perks’ bandwagon; but shoving a ping pong table in the breakroom is unlikely to help your employees in a meaningful way.
As such, don’t just offer random benefits. Try to think about what your employees really need. In fact, why not run an internal survey to make sure you get it right? This means your teams can identify the most important perks for them; and they’ll appreciate being consulted.
Popular offerings tend to include discounts on bars, restaurants and gym memberships. This will make it easier for your staff to enjoy their time outside of work. By encouraging employees to make the most of these benefits, you’ll help them to implement a healthy work-balance and improve your company culture, too.
5. Run Regular Social Events
A great way to help improve work-life balance is to run regular social events through work. By hosting a monthly or quarterly social, you’ll give your staff the chance to let their hair down and enjoy time together away from the working environment.
Not only will it be a welcome break from work, but it’s a great opportunity for employees to get to know each other properly. Ultimately, this will improve communication as everyone becomes more aware of the different personalities in their team.
However, it’s important that these events aren’t mandatory. Not everyone loves to socialise with colleagues, so it’s best to let people opt out if it’s not right for them.
Get Work-Life Balance Right
Implementing policies to improve work-life balance for your employees is so important. It’s been proven time and time again that staff work better when there’s a healthy balance between their personal and professional lives.
The ideas laid out above don’t just benefit your workers; they benefit your business too. Rather than having to constantly recruit new staff, you’ll have swathes of loyal and talented individuals at your disposal. You’ll have your pick of the best talent, when you expand your business. After all, if you’re a good employer, word gets around.
At the end of the day, staff are at the heart of your business. If you keep this in mind, you’ll be sure to stay one step ahead of your competition.
For more information on business topics in the Middle East and Africa, please take a look at the latest edition of Business Chief Africa.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.