If you think work-life balance is dead, you are wrong. According to a recent study by Statista, after remuneration (top most priority for 84% people), work-life balance ranks as the second most important factor for 64% of job seekers across the world. While the global economy is still reeling under the aftermath of the big recession, employees are becoming increasingly concerned about work taking on every other aspect of their life including personal and social. A recent Hay Group survey revealed that 27% of employees who felt their companies didn’t support work-life balance, planned to leave those jobs within the next two years. That could cost companies a pretty penny and overcoming the challenge boils down to simply one thing – putting in place an organizational culture that lets your employees feel that ‘you care’.
Employees’ Work-Life Balance Should Be an Organization’s Top Concern
Collaboration tools are all great but they have a business motive behind them. What workers want today is a company that is human – to their happiness and overall wellbeing. Here are 5 ways to alter your organization’s work culture to improve employees’ work-life balance.
#1 Setting the right example starts with the bosses: As a manager/entrepreneur, make it a rule to unplug after office hours – no emailing/texting your team members, leading them to think that they must respond in order to be in your good books. Unless urgent, practice work-life balance yourself to help establish an organizational culture promoting the same.
#2 Say NO to work-ations or fake-ations, and YES to vacations: Making vacations a compulsory part of organizational culture is a great way to get your employees some much needed R&R and the company, a fresh boost of energy when the rejuvenated workers are back. Unless they are travelling on business, never encourage your employees to respond to official emails/texts when they are vacationing – no more faking it.
#3 Go beyond ‘empowerment’ to enable and engage employees: Maximizing productivity is about enabling your employees to do their best by giving them the right resources, training, and skills so they feel actively engaged to do the job. For instance, if you burden your workforce with administrative tasks such as document, email, or office management – stuff that can be easily outsourced to a corporate administrative assistant, how can you expect them to have the time or energy to do their actual tasks that they are meant to be doing instead?
#4 Don’t freeze ‘when’ and ‘where’ to work: Alter your old-school management thinking about work schedules – give employees the freedom to decide their own place and time of work and see their commitment soar. According to an American Sociological Review study, workers who were given this flexibility and the tools to work from home, almost doubled their working hours willingly.
#5 Copy Denmark’s amazing work culture: According to the World Economic Forum, Denmark has the best work-life balance and unsurprisingly, is also the happiest country in the world. Danish moral values and the government’s pro-family policies are behind the country’s commitment to work-life balance. In short, employees in Denmark want to work, do a good job, and the employers trust them to do so and then leave. Testimony enough to the fact that more time in office does not equal more productivity. Treating people well, encouraging them to value their families, and indulge in frequent recreation actually pays off better.
As an organization, how your employees balance work and life should be your concern at the end of the day – not only because it helps retain them longer, boost their productivity, decrease your cost of workers’ insurance and benefits, but most importantly because it is the key to your own work-life balance.