So what can employers do about it?
Recognising the need to promote work-life balance amongst your employees is an important step. However, providing a solution may prove more difficult. There really isn’t a one-size fits-all policy you can adopt. What will matter to one person will differ to the next but there are steps you can take. These are just a few suggestions:
Open door policy – Stress often isn’t something people like to be candid about. However, your staff should feel they have the right to speak up if they feel the demands being placed upon them are too great. Once a dialogue is open you can then work towards a solution to benefit both parties.
Insist upon breaks – Don’t allow staff to become martyrs to the cause. Missing breaks to get things finished more quickly can be counter-productive in the long run. Furthermore, Working Time Regulations give workers the right to a 20 minute rest break if the working day is longer than 6 hours. This becomes even more important where workers are operating potentially dangerous machinery, such as an Apple Mac.
Introduce flexible working – Flexible hours working can be beneficial to both businesses and workers. For businesses it can improve the recruitment and retention of staff; help to provide cover and reduce the need for overtime. Workers may benefit by being able to work around childcare commitments or travel outside of busy commuter times. If a large proportion of your employees cycle to work this might even increase the mortality rates of your staff!
Job Sharing – This is where two (and sometimes more) employees share the same job. They will share a full-time job but can split days or weeks or simply work alternate days or weeks. Both employees could even be present during busy periods giving both the employee and the employer greater flexibility.
Homeworking – This requires a relationship based on trust but allows the worker to manage their own workload. You probably have a good idea of those staff who you know will use their time effectively and those that prefer Homes under the Hammer! You may need to agree on how performance will be supervised and measured and some technological investment may be required, but costs can be covered in the long run.
Audit work areas – Ensure working areas are conducive to a healthy work-life balance. An audit can help you remove those obstacles that have a negative impact and put policies in place as remedies. Something as simple as poor lighting can have a very detrimental effect on both productivity and mood.
Promote health and well-being – Any kind of activity that helps to bond a team or improve morale can be considered. Although this does conjure images of David Brent with a guitar.
Let them go – Not for good, but early. If the day allows, send a few people home early and make sure you adopt some kind of rota so everybody gets the opportunity. This is the best way to boost morale as it requires very little planning or procedural changes. Unless you send someone home only for them to be confronted by their partner’s infidelity – that might well have the opposite to the desired effect on morale, but we can’t legislate for everything.
Empowerment is key
Our work and home commitments are forever evolving, as are our expectations. Therefore, work-life balance needs to be constantly monitored. However, take care of your employees and they will take care of your business. Not all the solutions discussed here will work for every business or employee. What is important to you when you’re in your twenties will be drastically different to when you are older, especially if and when children enter the equation. You also need to work out what is best for your staff, but empower them by including them in any discussions before you put steps in place.
If you are looking for any advice in how to manage your business, contact us at Elevate2.
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