You probably already know that it's important to offer a good benefits package if you want to attract top talent. But once those new hires are on board, you still need to work on keeping them engaged and focused—and one of the best ways to do that is to create the ideal work-life balance for employees.
What Causes Employee Burnout?
Once upon a time, employees who worked beyond the typical 8-hour workday were considered high-ranking overachievers. While that may still be true up to a point, the truth is that this kind of overwork can lead to disengagement in the long run.
For every hour that an employee works beyond that 8-hour threshold, their productivity drops by 19 percent. In addition, the individual is bound to feel wrung out at the end of a long day. Ideally, they should feel refreshed when they return to work the next day or the next week—not as if they've already run a virtual marathon.
Workers who feel burnt out are more likely to seek employment elsewhere. That's one of the main reasons why you should cultivate an environment that promotes a good work-life balance.
Here are some of the benefits you can expect to enjoy when you follow this advice:
- Improved talent acquisition
- Stronger retention rates
- A thriving work environment
- Engaged, enthusiastic employees
How To Promote Work-Life Balance For Employees
1. Encourage Downtime
Be sure to let your employees know that they're not obligated to engage in work communication after hours. Once they've gone home, their time should belong to them and their family, not the company.
It can be helpful to remind team members that you can always save emails as drafts to be sent the following day. They should also be encouraged to make lists and leave memos regarding any issues that need to be addressed. That should dispel any concerns about important messages getting lost or forgotten.
It's crucial to allow employees the time they need to recharge after the workday. That way, they'll be refreshed and ready to tackle the next set of challenges head-on.
2. Consider a Remote-Hybrid Strategy
Increased job flexibility should go a long way toward keeping workers happy. This strategy allows employees to keep their personal and professional lives in balance, which will boost job performance.
Not every organization can offer team members the option of working remotely. If your business can adapt to this change, it could be a giant step forward.
Otherwise, consider offering flexible work schedules. If employees are allowed to choose their work hours, they're less likely to ask for personal time off to run errands or make medical appointments. This will alleviate a great deal of stress—on your part and theirs.
What's more, not everyone can adapt to the traditional 9-to-5 grind. When you make allowances for this, you'll be able to draw from a more diverse pool of applicants.
3. Create Opportunities For Mindfulness
You might think that mind-body practices are just passing trends, but the truth is that yoga and meditation can improve physical and mental health.
These exercises target the areas of the brain that are associated with lowering stress levels, increasing pain tolerance, and boosting immunity. When you encourage mindfulness training, you're showing your workers that you value them as individuals, and not just cogs in the machine.
There's another side effect that can work in your favor. Employees who practice mindfulness are less likely to be stressed out or irritated. That translates into greater employee engagement, as well as a happy and harmonious work environment.
For on-site workers, organize weekly meditation sessions—or yoga, if you have the space for it. Remote workers might benefit from guided meditation-videos, which you can send via email and encourage them to reference at appointed times.
It's not necessary to follow a specific structure, either. Even something as simple as a midday walk can count as a mindfulness practice. You can also issue regular reminders to take a few seconds out of each hour for deep-breathing exercises.
4. Lead By Example
Managers, supervisors, and owners can be the biggest overachievers of them all. If your team members see you working around the clock without a break, they may feel pressure to do the same.
There's a lot of work to do in a day, and it makes sense that you wouldn't want to fall behind. However, taking breaks every now and then will help you remain focused. It will also set the right example for your staff.
5. Rethink Vacation Policy
Some businesses allow their employees to "sell" their unused vacation days back to the company, instead of taking time off work to recharge. This can be an attractive prospect to workers who are hard up for extra cash. However, if you want to remain competitive, your employees should be making enough money to render this practice unnecessary.
More than 50 percent of American workers have reported that they often leave vacation days unused at the end of the year. This is often because they don't want to face a backlog of work when they return. Others might fear that they'll be viewed as expendable if they dare to take a day or more off work.
Try to encourage your employees to use their vacation time instead of cashing it in. You might allow them to "sell back" some of their allotted days, but make it clear that they should take the remaining time for themselves.
6. Promote Parental Leave Policies
The decision to start a family shouldn't lead to a poor work-life balance. You can do your part to offset this eventuality by introducing maternity and paternity leave to your list of employee benefits.
Your state might be required to provide some form of parental leave, even if it's as simple as holding an employee's position while they take time off to care for new family members. Check your state's regulations before implementing your policy. Once you have it in place, your brand image will be greatly improved.
If you don't already have someone on your team to ensure that you comply with regulations you should consider looking into this further.
7. Make Child Care a Priority
While we're on the subject of families, let's talk about the struggles that parents face when their leave runs out. For many professionals, the rising costs of child care keep them from returning to work at all, which can spell doom for their careers.
Consider creating a child care facility within the organization. If this isn't a possibility, reach out to surrounding organizations to see if anyone would be willing to partner with you. Having access to quality child care will give your workers greater peace of mind, and will help boost your employee retention rates.
8. Host Pet-Friendly Work Days
Even if it's just one day a week, allowing employees to bring their furry friends to work will make them feel more at home. It also gives the workplace a cheerful, outdoorsy vibe. This practice is especially attractive to millennials and Gen-Z workers, who tend to treat their pets like family.
Would a Fido-friendly work environment be detrimental to your production levels? Or is it simply not appropriate given the services you offer? If this is the case, consider hosting a happy hour at a local dog park, or planning other special events based around your employees and their four-legged family members.
Encouraging employees to create a healthy work-life balance will have a positive effect on their lives. However, it should also benefit the business by making your workplace look more appealing from the outside in.
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