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Encouraging a Healthy Work Life Balance for Employees

When we hear the word balance, we think of riding a bike or walking on a balance beam. If you lean too far one way or the other, you will fall off your bike or balance beam. Balance is an interesting word when you pair it with work and life. To keep work and life in equal proportions at all times can be tricky. It is hard to stay perfectly balanced as we constantly find ourselves being pulled by work and life. As if you are on a balance beam, your work pulls you one way and life pulls you the other way. You constantly have to work at keeping a balance or you fall off!

Before Covid, employees may have stayed later at the office when behind at work, which meant sacrificing at home. Even if employees did go home on schedule, they often found the need to check emails and messages while at home. Working remote makes it easier to blur the lines of working and non-working hours. Work time creeps in on non-work time, putting our lives out of balance.

There are many steps that employees can do at home to help find a better balance. Having a strong support group to connect with or using the company’s EAP can help. We have all heard to not overcommit by learning to say no, eating right, exercising and unplugging. But setting boundaries for work and non-work times is also important. We can stop working at a designated time and use time blocking if there is a need to check work emails and messages during family time. To help separate work and family time, an example would be to set aside a 30 minute block after the family meal to check work emails. Our minds become cluttered from work and life stressors. We keep busy and if we don’t take steps to figure out what our needs are, we may find we are taking more sick days or unable to function well. Once you understand your needs, having an open and honest conversation with your employers can help them understand how they can help foster a better work life balance.

As an employer, it may be beneficial to look at what you are doing for employees to help with a better work life balance. “Creating a work environment where your employees feel like they have a life outside of work and have a personal life is a critical part of keeping your employees free of burnout. This helps facilitate an environment where they are engaged in their work—leading to greater productivity.” (Kiisel)

“Fostering an environment where your employees are encouraged to step away from work and create balance in their life is just a good idea. It helps employee engagement, longevity, and productivity— positively impacting your business’ bottom line. What will work for one business might not work for another, but be creative and willing to explore what will work best for you and your employees.” (Kiisel)

From the article, Your Employees Work/Life Balance is Good for Business, here are some tips on how employers can help foster a work life balance:

1. Offer flexible work schedules if possible. Let employees figure out the most productive times for them to work.

2. Offer options to work at home.

3. Establish boundaries for connecting to work. Make sure your employees know they can define work time and non-work time.

4. Unlimited PTO – a popular trend with many companies today. Basically, allowing your employees to take the time off they need without being constrained by annual limits allows employees to take time to attend a child’s play, visit the doctor, or take vacation time away from work during the year. Contrary to what you might expect, most people won’t abuse the privilege, and you may even need to encourage your people to take time off.

5. Another option is what’s been called Summer Fridays: Summer Fridays is relatively inexpensive perk during the summer months allowing employees to take Friday afternoons off from Memorial Day to Labor Day, the idea being that not much work is getting done on a sunny Friday afternoon anyway, so offering this potentially inexpensive perk to employees is a great way to demonstrate that you are behind your employees having a good work/life balance.

Works Cited:

Kiisel, Ty. Your employees work/life balance is good for business. https://www.ondeck.com/resources/your-employees-worklifebalance-is-good-for-business Retrieved December 28, 2021

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