Work-life balance

28 January 2020

Work-life balance is a widespread HR issue for employers who manage a modern workforce.

With both parents working in many families, employees face ever-increasing time pressures and sometimes struggle to find an answer to the question of how to balance work and family life.

So it's important for your HR department to consider how to ease the pressure off their professional and social lives

If your business takes the time to learn about work-life balance issues that affect your employees, you can tailor some work-life balance initiatives to meet both the needs of your employees and the needs of your business. 

And in this guide we explore exactly how you can go about that. 

Why work-life balance matters

Some employers remain sceptical about the benefits of work-life balance. This is despite a growing body of evidence demonstrating that taking the time to develop work-life balance techniques can have tangible workplace benefits.

From your employees’ perspective, a more flexible approach can lead to:

  • Improved productivity.
  • Lower rates of absenteeism.
  • Better employee health and well-being.
  • A better reputation for your business as an employer.

From your perspective as a business owner, introducing work-life balance tools can lead to the following benefits:

  • Improved employee morale.
  • Better employee engagement and commitment levels.
  • Reduced stress across the business.
  • Decreases in employee turnover and associated recruitment costs.
  • Enjoy a reputation as a business where people want to work.

So, with the above advantages in mind, here's the process you can take. 

How to improve work-life balance for you and your employees

You can get a balance is best achieved by teasing out the question of what is a healthy work-life balance with your staff.

Working with your staff on this question is a good example of the direct connection that exists between employee engagement and work-life balance.

Once you develop a mutually beneficial policy with your employees, you should begin to monitor how the relationship between work-life balance and productivity affects the bottom line.  

In general, employees appreciate the improvements. And that'll typically lead to greater levels of productivity.

Of course all employees will have unique circumstances. While a one size fits all approach is unlikely to be effective across the board in helping employees balance work-life conflicts, there are multiple approaches that you can adapt to help employees find a structure that suits them. 

These include flexible work options like:

  • Part-time working.
  • Flexi-time.
  • Working from home.
  • Parental leave for mothers and fathers
  • Unpaid sabbaticals.
  • Exploring the possibility of topping up statutory maternity, paternity, adoptive, parent’s and parental leave.

Flexible working will be particularly popular with working parents. Remember, you should be ready to consider queries from new mothers and staff members who are already mothers about seeing if a flexible work plan is available.

Work-life balance for mothers and, indeed, all parents is a key employee concern.

If you can come up with a mutually beneficial proposal that removes barriers to work-life balance, you'll stand out as an employer of choice for working parents. In a tight labour market, this will be a significant advantage.

Government family-friendly commitments

The Irish government has adopted a 'First 5' strategy that aims to improve work-life balance options for parents of children under 5 years of age.

The strategy includes a pledge that by 2021, both parents of children under one year of age will enjoy up to seven weeks of paid parents’ leave and benefit.

This is in addition, to September next year, parents of all children up to age 12 will also have entitlements to 26 weeks' unpaid parental leave.

It may be possible to incorporate the statutory leave entitlements that are available to employees into your own work-life balance policies.

Work-life balance is a key HR issue for all employers no matter what size. Get immediate help today by calling: 0818 923 923.

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