As someone who oversees a team, part of your job should be supporting and helping them maintain a healthy work-life balance. Especially lately, with the rise of remote working/flexible working, keeping up with a healthy balance is paramount for your employees. Employees that maintain a successful balance between the two, often have the flexible workplace to thanks – although some remote workers can fall into a pattern of fatigue from overworking.
Flexibility and motivating your employees to have flexibility can really pay off for employers in the long run. “As we look ahead, it is clear that in order to remain competitive, employers must find ways to offer flexible work options if they want to attract and retain top talent,” said Hank Jackson, president and CEO of the Society for Human Resource Management. Work-life balance means different things to different people, being that we all have different lifestyles, commitments, time constraints, etc. Balance is a very personal thing, and although only your employee can decide the lifestyle that suits them best, as a manager, you can be supportive in helping them achieve that.
Know what your employees are striving for
Not all of your employees will have the same work-life balance goals. Make time to talk to your employees so you can learn what they are striving for. From there, you can determine what you can do to help them. Some employees may benefit from working remotely on set days, while others might need to flexibility to pick and choose their days depending on their needs.
Set a good example for your employees
Setting a good example for your employees to follow can make them feel much more comfortable about working flexibly and enjoying a balanced life. If you send emails late at night, or work hard on the weekends, your employees may start to think that is expected of them, too. If you do need to work crazy hours, let them know that you don’t expect them to reply to your midnight emails, or spend their Sunday working on a project. You can set your own boundaries, and remind yourself to respect your employees’ boundaries as well.
Make your employees aware of their options
Letting your employees know what their options are when it comes to working flexibly or remotely can be the first big step in creating a positive environment where your employees can pick and choose where they work from. Some employers may already have covered this in their onboarding or interviewing process, but if things have changed, or if you did not include it in your onboarding, make sure that your employees are aware of their options. Some employees may not even know that flexibility is an option for them. Regularly discussing options with your team makes them open and aware.
Stay at the forefront of the flexibility curve
Staying at the forefront of the flexibility curve of work-life balance trends is a great way to keep your employees balanced. Consider that what worked last year may not work this year, and what will work next year may also call for a flexibility update. Keep your company’s work-life balance initiatives nice and fresh.
Take a vacation yourself
As we stated in our blog post Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance: For Employees, according to the State of American Vacation study conducted by the U.S. Travel Association, 52% of employees reported having unused vacation days left over at the end of the year. Employees are often worried about taking time off – thinking it effects everyone too much for them to do it. This fear restricts a lot of employees from getting a much-needed break. As a manager, team leader, CEO, or any other position of power, you probably have the same fear. But the company will not go up into flames if you use your vacation time! Remember that you work hard and that you need a break too. By taking your own vacation time and showing your employees that it is a safe, healthy, and responsible thing to do, it will encourage them to use their vacation time as well.
Benefits to offer that help with work-life balance in the workplace
Offering specific benefits to your employees can also help maintain work-life balance and show your employees that you care about their mental health and care about giving them a much deserved break.
One of the most positive ways to reduce stress and help mental health is to exercise. Everyone that is able to, should be getting in some type of exercise everyday, whether it’s a simple walk, or lifting weights, it’s a great and healthy way for people to relieve stress. Employees who eat healthy and exercise are less at risk of getting sick and missing days from work. This is also beneficial to the employee, meaning that they can use their PTO for vacations or fun events, instead of using them up for sick days. Many office buildings have gym facilities onsite, so if you do, encourage your employees to use it regularly. If not, some other great ways to motivate your employees to exercise is to offer membership discounts at a local gym, offer free or discounted workout classes, or discount codes for online workouts. A fun idea is to add some competition into your exercise motive. Have your employees track their fitness and offer some type of reward for this, creating an exciting program for your employees. You can also look into promoting a local 5K race, or raising money for charities/non-profits by asking your team to participate in a 5K.
Childcare services can impact employees on a very high level. Not having the proper care for their children can create a huge stressor for parents, leaving them feeling overwhelmed at work. Similar to the gym situation, some places of employment offer on-site childcare services. This is a great option for parents, and can take a lot of frustration out of their life. If this isn’t possible for your office, it’s also a great option to offer discounts or recommend childcare services, so that your employees know you support them.
If both of these options are not really feasible for your business, you should try to allow your employees at least some flexibility to care for their children. This can include the ability to take time off to pick up a sick child from school, the ability to see a child’s school play at lunch time, or flexible start/end time for parents who drop off or pick up kids from school.
A great way to boost employee morale and give them a sense of work-life balance is to offer the occasional company outing or company event. Allowing your employees to relax and get to know each other in stress-free environment can help them feel more balanced. Company outings and events can be as cheap or expensive as you’d like to make them, so work them into your budget at whatever capacity you can. Have a designated person (or team, depending on the size) organize everything, and allow your employees to relax and enjoy.