Article: How to improve employee work-life balance

Life @ Work

How to improve employee work-life balance

Promote a healthy work-life balance to increase productivity and keep employees happy.
How to improve employee work-life balance

“Work-Life Balance” is the new buzzword in today’s corporate world.  There are many reasons why employers want to work on this for everyone in the organization.  It could be to avoid employee burnout, improve employee health, reduce absenteeism or increase productivity.  

OwnLocal, an Austin firm invests in its employees professionally, emotionally and physically.  On joining the company, each employee is fitted with a Fitbit Pedometer that tracks their steps and calories.

Here are some ways to accomplish this ever-elusive and challenging goal.

Allowing working from home

This could be part of the time or a couple of days a week.  It would definitely vary from employee to employee, based on the kind of work that they do and the needs of the team.  Meetings could be attended remotely, with the help of technology.

According to the survey and research done by Indeed for the 25 best companies that practice work-life balance, Southwest Airlines jumped from No. 13 to the top of the list for their commitment to employee wellness and career development – for their alternative work schedules, their compressed work weeks, flexible start and end times and job sharing.

Restricting the number of hours worked

This means that developing a culture where employees are not expected to work after they leave the office premises or restricting the number of hours of work for an employee in a given week.  

Focusing on the outcome and not on the hours worked

If employees are productive, they can get most of their work accomplished in the 8 hours of a daily office life.  They need not be at the worksite longer than 8 hours every day.  

In one of its work-life balance initiatives, The World Wildlife Fund gives its employees an opportunity to participate in Brown Bag Lunches every day, where they network, socialize or discuss projects with their colleagues or the CEO, expand their minds and learn something new.

Promoting breaks during the day

Sometimes employers do not look kindly at employees who are away from their desks for some time and consider this as goofing off.  Employees definitely need breaks away from work to reduce stress levels.  Taking breaks is known to increase productivity.

Giving time off to employees for charitable ventures and voluntary work

Employees should be able to pursue other interests besides work and should be able to take time off to do things that will make them happy and lead a satisfied life.  It would also go a long way in creating loyalty to the employer brand.

Vacation time policies

If giving time off to employees is not possible, increasing the number of vacation days could be made available.  Giving extra days as a bonus for completion of goals or to celebrate milestones could help employees take a really good and a refreshing break.  Encouraging employees to use up all their vacation time rather than letting it sit would be a good idea.

Providing childcare benefits

This could be in the form of onsite childcare options or discounts at nearby childcare centres.  If the stress of taking care of children or worrying about them is removed, then the parents can focus on their work.  

Work-life balance is not an impossible dream.  With a little bit of sensitivity and thought, a lot can be achieved towards this goal.


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Topics: Life @ Work, Watercooler

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