Whether you work in the non-profit sector or not, the idea of work-life balance is a big issue today. With jobs becoming much less attached to a strict 9-to-5 pattern, there is a definite shift towards providing employees with extra benefits and more flexibility. In return, more companies expect their staff to be available at odd hours, as well as potentially spend additional time at the office as needed.
If you’re an employer, it’s a fine line to walk-how do you allow flexibility but still make sure work is done? And perhaps more importantly, how do you encourage your employees to be engaged in the office, but also to have a fulfilling life outside it? This is what the work-life balance is all about: ensuring that employees divide their time equally between their work and their outside pursuits in order to have a happier and healthier life.
Here are some suggestions to help improve the work-life balance:
Provide staff with more flexibility
Flexible working hours, part-time work, alternate working hours and even working from home have shown a significant increase in job satisfaction , productivity and motivation. Offering more flexible work arrangements for employees can also lead to reduced turnover , increased retention of staff and a reduction in absenteeism.
Allow employees to work from home
In the same vein, it gives the possibility to work from home. This is of great importance to employees who have children or other responsibilities that could be difficult to juggle with a full workload. If they are given the freedom to work from home a few times a week, it could raise a huge amount of stress-which could mean healthier and happier staff. This move also demonstrates a level of trust between employer and employee; since you’re not micromanaging their every move and looking over their shoulder, your staff will be more confident that you believe they’re going to complete their work on their own. Although there may be initial concerns as to whether or not they will spend eight solid hours on their work every day, it’s time to let that go. Letting your employees work “on their honor” is a good way to build a sense of responsibility and accountability.
Successful people plan their work and then work out their plan. You’ve got one life, so have a date planner. Whether it’s paper or electronic, this is the vehicle by which you turn your priorities and objectives into reality. Set aside 10 to 20 minutes at the beginning of each day (or night before) to plan your tasks and activities for the day and night ahead.
Have a conducive office setup
Although you’re offering the work-from – home option, you still want to make sure your office space is as inviting as possible-after all, a motivational open space makes for productive staff. You might want to look at what kind of colors are most inspiring to different moods, and what kind of art and design might help make your company’s corporate space more attractive. When you set up your office layout, consider having separate breakout rooms and soundproofed quiet rooms when people need to get down to business. This is particularly important if you’re on the open concept office route; not everyone works well with a wide open space, so providing personal quiet space is essential to make sure your staff feel comfortable in their workplace.
Encourage social activities
Once you’ve got your team in one place, it’s smart to do business in and out of the office that will engage your staff and help them connect. Forward-thinking workplaces often have social committees made up of employees who organize events such as film nights, sports teams, or after-work dinners. Having these kinds of activities can help employees feel more at home at work, as well as building friendships with their colleagues that can help them to be more productive at work.
Allow for payroll giving
A further step in the category of corporate social responsibility is to let your employees sign up for payroll donation. This allows them to choose a portion of their paycheque to be deducted automatically as a donation to the charity of their choice. Employees who are charitably engaged through their company are happier and more satisfied, and this can go a long way towards helping employees feel engaged in their work life.
Have an open-door policy
Some top companies take this literally, with high-ranking executives sitting in the open space among regular employees, but having a “open door” can also mean communicating that anyone is free to ask anyone else for help. Whether in terms of professional work or personal matters, it is remarkable how many issues can be worked out if staff feel free to have open discussions. It is also valuable to provide counseling services, whether in person or on the phone, to help employees better balance their life stress. It’s all about making sure your staff brings their best to work every day.
Workplace “perks” are all the rage right now, and possibly even the decisive point when it comes to where qualified candidates choose to work. Nowadays, many modern workplaces offer free meals or snacks, extra health benefits (think bonus allowances for things like massages or gym memberships) and free financial services. Not only does it help make life easier for your staff, it also helps to invest in their health and well-being.