With so many companies focusing on employee retention and company culture, many organizations are seriously taking a look at how to improve employee work life balance as a way to make their employment brand more attractive to candidates. Not only that, but employers have come to realize that overworking employees actually causes a lot of problems and decreases productivity over the long term.
According to a Harvard Business Review study, managers weren’t able to distinguish between employees who actually worked 80 hours a week and those employees who were just pretending to put in the hours. Though several of the most blatant pretenders were penalized, the study was unable to find evidence that the employees who put in 80 hours a week accomplished anything more than the pretenders.
Not does productivity diminish, but expecting too much of your employees also has a lot of serious side effects on their health such as:
- Impaired Sleep
- Heavy Drinking
- Impaired Memory
- Increased Risk of Heart Disease
While these health effects are bad enough on their own, many of these conditions will also serve to increase turnover at your company, both voluntary and involuntary. After all, who wants to work for a company that prioritizes productivity over employee health?
And that’s something that can seriously impact your organization’s employer brand.
In addition to the negative impacts that poor employee work life balance can have on the general well-being, it can also have a negative impact on your ability to hire and retain top talent. According to a Monster survey, nearly 70% of candidates are putting employee work life balance on the top of their most sought after qualities in a job.
At this point, you should be pretty convinced. Improving employee work life balance is not only good for your organization, but it’s rapidly becoming necessary to attract the best candidates. Let’s talk about some of the ways you can improve employee work life balance within your organization.
Ensure Everyone has the Right Workload
While the “right” amount of work to give any employee will vary, discovering the limits and preferences of your employees is the first step toward a better employee work life balance. Check in with your employees to see how they feel.
- Do they feel like they’re doing too much?
- Do they feel overwhelmed with the amount of work or skills required?
- Do they feel like they could be doing more?
- Do they feel like they have a good work life balance?
If an employee says that they feel overworked, listen and make sure they feel heard. Sometimes being heard makes all the difference to an employee.
Ask overworked employees to show you how they’re being overtaxed and what they believe to be a reasonable work load. While your ability to adjust their assignments may hinge on a productivity policy in your company, other factors may make their current standard workload unrealistic.
When trying to get this kind of feedback from employees, be make sure to make it clear that you’re promoting a company culture in which improving work life balance is a priority. Otherwise, employees may think that their honest feedback may result in signing their own pink slip. After all, it’s traditionally been sink or swim in the business world.
Provide Development Resources
One of the best ways to improve employee work life balance is to give them an opportunity to develop their skills. By strengthening skills on the job, employees will be able to engage with their work in a deeper way and increase their connection and enjoyment of their work. Improving employee relationships with their work also improves employee work life balance.
Offering employees the chance to further their education or skill development also looks great to candidates and strengthens your employment brand. When employees engage with a development program, attend conferences in your industry or further their education, they will value the investment you’ve made in them and put their sharpened skills to work for your organization. Candidates will see that you have a dedicated and happy workforce, and that makes them want to join your company too.
Offer Flexible Work Arrangements
Offering flexible work arrangements can go a long way toward improving employee work life balance, plus it really doesn’t cost your organization anything. Besides the time employees save by not having to drive to work, getting your work done from home allows your employees to focus on the task at hand, outside the bustle of the office. This can be crucial for employees whose work life balance equation requires a good deal of quiet time, or who would just like an extra day per week in their pajamas.
On top of that, telecommuting can boost productivity.
Flex time, telecommuting and extended vacations are all becoming more popular at best in class companies. By being ahead of the curve, your company will look like a great place to work for top talent. Additionally, your current employees will love how you’re empowering their ability to balance their home life more easily with their working life.
Tools for communication, collaboration, delegation, and preparation can help to streamline work and improve employee work life balance within your organization. When properly integrated into the workflow of your company, technology tools can help out with everything from time and task management to the way information is shared.
Be sure to choose technology tools aimed at improving specific employee workflows and daily tasks. Through evaluating the way work is done within your organization, you can adopt technology tools that are aimed at streamlining this work and improving the work life balance of your employees. On top of that, properly integrated technology tools can boost productivity and reduce time spent on manual or mundane tasks.
Provide Some “Fun” Work Opportunities
Providing fun work opportunities to your most talented employees can make their jobs more interesting and make their relationship with work all the more enjoyable. If you believe that one of your best employees is becoming restless, allowing them to tackle projects that are out of the ordinary or even “fun” will go a long way toward improving employee work life balance.
Consider which upcoming company projects or plans present opportunities to engage the best minds at your organization. By providing engaging or interesting work opportunities to employees, you allow them to branch out while still contributing to the success of your organization. Offering this sort of variety in the work that your employees do will keep them engaged in their jobs for longer and improve their work relationship with your organization.
There’s a lot of good reasons for organizations to take a hard look at employee work life balance and seek ways to improve it. Beyond simply improving the lives of employees, these types of strategies go a long way toward reinforcing your employer brand and helping your organization to attract the best candidates. By following the tips above and creating a culture of transparency around workload, you will be able to improve the work lives of employees throughout your organization and ensure that your most talented employees stick around.