When employees don’t maintain a healthy work-life balance, their productivity at work is reduced. They are also more likely to burn out due to stress, and to suffer from increased physical and mental health issues.
As an employer, you can play a big role in promoting a healthy work-life balance.
The support of employers in implementing policies, setting expectations, and creating an environment that allow for a healthy work-life balance is crucial for staff members to be able to achieve this balance.
Consider these strategies to get the right balance:
– Flexible work arrangements.
Offer opportunities for variable hours, working from home, or childcare services at work to allow for flexibility around family commitments.
– Encourage healthy behaviours.
Arrange for company discounts on gym memberships or host mindfulness/yoga sessions on-site to remind staff to prioritise their health and wellbeing.
– Hold family events.
Let your staff know that their family life is valued at work by hosting family events sponsored by the organisation.
– Practice what you preach.
Employees model the behaviour and expectations of their managers; if managers demonstrate a healthy work-life balance, employees will follow suit, allowing for a cultural shift towards a healthier balance.
It is also important to keep in mind that there is no one size fits all approach to achieving balance; an equal balance between work and life is rare, and individuals should focus on finding the right balance for them, tailored to suit their personal situation. Secondly, finding the balance unique to an individual’s situation requires trial and error and will continue to change as personal and work-related responsibilities and priorities change.
A note on leaving work on time
Evidence has found that working long hours is particularly unhealthy, suggesting that long work hours may impair personal health, increase stress and lead to both psychological and physical exhaustion. These factors can lead to a decline in productivity, detachment from personal life, depression, anxiety and other stress-related illnesses. Currently, in Australia, 13% of Australians work up to 50-65 hours per week, above the OECD average of 11% (OECD, 2017).
The technological revolution has also led to people being constantly contactable and unable to switch off from the demands of work once they’ve left the office. As a result, they lose the balance as their work commitments eat into the time intended to be dedicated to their personal life.
With all the challenges that come along with promoting a healthy work-life balance, workplaces and employees need to make a conscious effort to both achieve, and help others achieve, a suitable balance.
The benefits of promoting work-life balance
As well as reducing stress levels and preventing burnout, improving work-life balance can have significant benefits for employees, both at home and in the workplace. These include:
- – Greater sense of control over their commitments
- – Better focus, decision-making and ability to meet deadlines
- – Improved personal relationships (e.g., colleagues, family, friends, partner)
- – Greater employee satisfaction and morale, leading to higher retention rates
Upskill your Staff on Achieving Balance
Our workplace training programs can teach the skills to help your staff improve their work-life balance, including Mindfulness & Wellbeing and Time Management. Contact us to discuss how we can assist your workplace.
Ford, M. T., Heinen, B. A., & Langkamer, K. L. (2007). Work and family satisfaction and conflict: A meta-analysis of cross-domain relations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 57-80.
MacKay, J. (2019, January 24). The State of Work Life Balance in 2019: What we learned from studying 185 million hours of working time. Retrieved from RescueTime:blog: https://blog.rescuetime.com/work-life-balance-study-2019/
OECD. (2017). Work-Life Balance. Retrieved from OECD Better Life Index: http://www.oecdbetterlifeindex.org/topics/work-life-balance/
Perlow, L. A., & Porter, J. L. (2009). Making Time Off Predictable—and Required. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2009/10/making-time-off-predictable-and-required