Some people are committed to ending their workday once the timer hits 5 O’Clock. But for others, this does not happen. It is possible some of your team members are using their evenings and weekend for work-related tasks. And we must all understand this is not desirable behavior. It is important for your employees to have a work-life balance. For their mental health but also for you as an organization. As a leader, it is your job to cultivate and nurture a work-life balance. So, what can you do to promote work-life balance?
What is Work-Life Balance?
There are many definitions and theories for work-life balance. Work-life balance is more than the contrast between the time you spend working vs the time you spend off work. Many other variables comprise this concept. For the purpose of this post, I will be defining work-life balance as the way your team members feel about their work, the connection with their role, the people in the workplace, and how they are treated. And how all these fit into their life perspective.
Just like there are many ways to define the concept, there are as many ways to measure it. And since this is not an academic paper I will not get into those details either. But, when evaluating your team members’ work-life balance you should determine first, how satisfied and engaged they are with their work. And secondly how satisfied they are with other aspects in their lives. However, since you only have intervention in the first aspect, that is what I will be talking about.
Determine Employee Satisfaction
This section deserves a whole blog of its own, and we will have it in the future, I promise. But for now, I will briefly introduce you to the main components of Employee Satisfaction.
- Development: Comprises the opportunities your employees have to develop their knowledge and career within your organization.
- Productivity: Consists of how your employees are able to prioritize different aspects of their role. Their ability to get the work done effectively. And also the ability to remain motivate and focused at work.
- Collaboration: The ability you have as an organization or leader to encourage your employees to work together towards the same goal.
- Performance: This encompasses your employees results related to their motivation and engagement to achieve them. Under supervision and without it.
- Company Communication: *Inserts smiley face* I have talked about the importance of communication, but again. This includes the ways you communicate your team members about company values and goals, policies and procedures, what you expect from them, and their future in the organization.
- Stress and Anxiety: Composed of the capacity work has to often make your team members feel stressed and anxious.
- Self-Confidence: The ability your employee has to regard themselves as competent, sufficient, efficient and part of the work your organization does.
- Flexibility: Component closely related to the locations where your team member can work from, the capacity to set their own schedules, and the amount of hours they need to work. I would also include your expectations for them to attend work-related matters during their time off work.
- Work Relationships: Consists of your work as an organization to nurture trust and mentorship in the workplace.
- Recognition: Comprises not only monetary compensation and bonuses, but also the displays of appreciation of prople that deserve it. These displays of appreciation include promotion within the organization as well as public acknowledgement of their performance.
Promote Work-Life Balance
Ok so now to what summons us. What are the best ways you can promote, nurture, and encourage a healthy work-life balance? By optimally promoting work-life balance your employees will feel happier and healthier at work. Their performance and productivity will increase, as well as their engagement. And Your overall business performance will improve, you will have less employee turnover and more engagement and commitment.
Yes, you are in business because you want to generate profit. And believe me, I have seen the “the client is always right” mindset gazillion times. Your employees and collaborators should always come first. Clients and shareholders come after them. If your team members are happy, healthy, comfortable, and involved, they will take care of your clients and shareholders for you.
Your employees are the ones that ultimately help you achieve goals and have an optimal and performing organization. So you should always focus on making sure they have the right tools and strategies to perform their job efficiently. And leave the rest up to them, it will all fall into place.
The best way to promote work-life balance is by asking your team members how they are feeling. Inquire them for ideas that will make them feel better at work. Identify where you definitely need improvement. Address the issues they indicate with more frequency first. The best way we can do better is by asking others what things they consider we should do for them as an organization.
By doing this you are not only including them in this decision making but also improving the overall company culture. Remember if you make your employees’ voices resonate, they will feel part of something bigger. And I said it in the past, this is a very important step in your Employer Branding Strategies.
You must plant in your employees the importance of work-life balance. Some employees find it harder to separate and contrast. Some employees are workaholics. If you find yourself with these cases I would suggest the enforcing of work-life balance policies. However, if for some reason you as their manager are the one doing work stuff during off-hours, make sure to always let them know you expect them to get to them during working hours and not right away.
With my anecdotes, once I was working through an outsourcing agency, and the agency’s policies (not my client’s) were for me to answer emails at all times. If it was on a workday I couldn’t take more than 30 minutes to answer them. On my days off I was expected to answer emails early in the morning and by the end of the evening, at least. Don’t be this kind of boss. Respect boundaries.
It was shattering to see how we had to face a pandemic in order to have companies understand the concept of flexibility as an important one. And yet, I still see some organizations reluctant to give in on this subject. Working from home and the ability to have flexible work schedules will increase your employee’s productivity. Some people function with 9-5 schedules. But for others, it is an 11-7 or a 3-11. You should allow your employees to work at the times they feel they are more efficient and their results are more optimal. This improves their focus as well.
Growth and Support
Earlier I talked about how you should plant in your employees the importance of work-life balance. You know I am full of metaphors and anecdotes. Since we are with planting I would say you should always promote your employees’ growth and support their projects. Give them challenges and new tasks, so they get to develop and hone their skills. Provide monthly or bi-monthly feedback. Provide them with a good salary. Support them in personal and outside of work issues. Offer them mental health days. Strengthen their weak areas.
You will have different kinds of employees, with different skills and commitment rates. Some of your employees will be the workaholic type and others may be the complete opposite. Make sure whenever you are promoting work-life balance you take into consideration each of their differences and skills. Always look after your employees’ well-being and be on the lookout for any mental health disruption.
It is important to highlight that organizations and employees have the same responsibility when it comes to promoting work-life balance. Make sure your practices are clear, transparent, and sustainable at all times.