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.