In an environment where employees have had to help companies do more with less, many are in need of a healthier work-life balance.
Promoting alternative work arrangements and other ways to help staff achieve a better balance can lead to many positive results for your company – and not just in terms of keeping productivity high.
It can enhance the overall health and well-being of your staff, thereby reducing both absenteeism and “presenteeism” (coming to work when ill). After all, who can work continuously under stress without eventually becoming burnt out?
Helping your employees strike the right balance between their professional obligations and personal life is easier, and less costly, than you might think. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Allow for flexible work schedules
Your company’s regular business hours may not work well for all staff.
For instance, an employee who must pick up her young children from school daily could be allowed to start and end the workday a bit earlier.
Others might benefit more from a compressed work week: instead of five eight-hour days, designated employees might be able to work four ten-hour days, resulting in one less day in the office per week.
2. Provide opportunities for telecommuting
Offer staff whose jobs can be done remotely the option of working from home at least a few times a month (especially those with long commutes).
E-mail and other communication tools will ensure they never miss a beat.
3. Avoid the temptation to contact staff after hours
While technology can indeed keep us connected 24/7, resist the temptation to phone or email your employees outside of work hours – unless it’s truly urgent.
Respect that your staff need time every day to “unplug”.
4. Give time off for a job well done
After the successful completion of a long or difficult project, allow employees to have a day off – or at least, a partial day – to relax.
5. Consider bringing in reinforcements when necessary
If you know when workloads are likely to peak in the year ahead (for example, around tax time), make plans to ease the burden on your staff by scheduling interim or contract personnel.
6. You need to set the standard of work-life balance
Show employees that you value your personal time too, and you know when to step away from the laptop or put down the smartphone.