Work-Life Balance

28 January 2020

Ensuring a good work-life balance can go a long way in increasing the happiness of your workforce. As an employer, you need to understand the importance of a healthy work-life balance.

Having a poor work-life balance can lead to a range of negative connotations for your business. Such as a decrease in employee morale, productivity, and retention.

In this guide, we'll discuss why a work-life balance is important, what causes an imbalance, and ways to support your employees during work.

What is work-life balance?

Work-life balance is achieving an equal footing between professional and personal priorities.

It plays a key part in both the employer's and the employee's happiness. You should never ignore the importance of it, as it can bring benefits to your company.

Why is work-life balance important?

As an employer, you have a responsibility for your staff’s health and well-being. It's key you respect how important a healthy work-life balance is for your business.

A happy and healthy workforce can only lead to positive outcomes for everyone. So, you must familiarise yourself with them.

A family on the beach.

What are the benefits of a good work-life balance?

There are a range of benefits to achieving a work-life balance. For example:

However, you must understand what can lead to a poor work-life balance for your employees.

What causes a poor work-life balance?

A negative work-life conflict can be caused by several reasons. For example:

  • Increased responsibilities for work demand.
  • Regularly working long hours and overtime.
  • Unable to maintain commitments for family life and children.
  • Higher expenses without an increase in salary.
  • Ineffective time management.
  • Fear of failure and career progression.

Now you know the reasons behind an imbalance between work and life, you need to be familiar with the negatives it can bring.

Consequences of poor work-life balance for your business

A poor work-life balance amongst employees can have negative consequences which your business must be aware of.

For your business, a poor work-life balance will ultimately affect your productivity, revenue, and even reputation. Your employees will suffer from poor mental health issues and wellbeing.

In the end, they may end up raising grievance claims for such bad conditions. Or choose to leave, causing your employee turnover rates to increase unexpectedly.

There are many things you can do to create a good work-life balance for both you and your employees.

A person showing stress.

How to create a better work-life balance in your workplace

There is a range of things that both an employer and employee can do to achieve a healthier work-life balance.

Let's discuss them further so you can help improve this issue.

Accept there is no perfect work-life balance

This is arguably the most important out of everything you can do. The truth is, there is no perfect work-life balance.

During your working life, there will be times when both you and your employees go through tough times. This can be in both your professional and personal life.

The quicker you accept it’ll never be perfect, the quicker you can manage it.

Put your personal life first

If work demands are increasing or you feel you're working longer hours, then remember what makes you happy.

Look at how you spend your personal time away from work. For example, doing things you enjoy out hours like having family time or seeing friends.

It's a known fact that time spent with loved ones can lead to an increased focus when returning to work.

Step back from emails

Encourage employees to stop checking work emails outside of their paid work hours. One way you can do this is by setting an ‘out-of-office’ message. This makes it harder to reach them; as well as removing the temptation to check.

Checking emails late at night can lead to overthinking, stress, and insomnia.

Learn to say no

Both employers and employees struggle to say no to colleagues, which can lead to an increase in workloads. Learning to say no frees up time and energy to deal with other things that are important.

For example, you shouldn't expect employees to say yes to overtime requests. Avoid pressuring them into agreeing to it. Pressure may lead to them to resign, resulting in a constructive dismissal.

Take regular breaks

Encourage your employees to take regular breaks during working hours. Short breaks are essential for both mental and physical health.

However, don't forget the importance of taking your own time away from your desk. This includes lunch breaks with shorter ones on either side.

You should never work through your lunch breaks; and you should never expect your employees to, either.

Present flexible working arrangements

Changing your work patterns to one that suits your employees needs can go a long way to maintain a work-life balance. You should make your employees feel like you listen and take into consideration any other life commitments they have.

Flexible working arrangements will allow your workers to enjoy life. For example, spending more time with their children or attend weekly gym classes.

Take annual leave

Where possible, you should encourage employees to take annual leave entitlements. Spending quality time on holiday with friends or family allows you to relax, re-energise and go back to work feeling refreshed.

For most people, taking annual leave is the ideal way to switch off from work for a few days.

As an employer, you must take annual leave yourself. As this is crucial to your own productivity and morale.

Make your health your top priority

Well-being should be the number one priority for both employer and employee.

Taking part in exercise is a proven way of reducing stress. You should encourage your employees to walk during their lunch breaks. Other ideas could include providing free gym membership, or letting staff finish early to exercise.

Set achievable goals

One of the main causes of an imbalance between work and life is the demands of work. Set achievable and manageable goals for your employees. Ensure risks of workplace stress are significantly lowered.

Regularly communicate to see how they're getting on with their goals. If they seem less productive, the workload could be getting too much for them.

You must understand how you can support your staff to achieve a good work-life balance.

A person walking their dog.

Employer responsibilities for better work-life balance

As an employer, you have a responsibility to help employees with their work-life balance.

This can go a long way in increasing your employee's happiness. So, be aware of the different ways you can support them

Lead by example

For employers, it's essential to practice what you preach when it comes to work-life balance. Lead by example by taking regular breaks and your annual leave entitlements.

By doing so, employees will take your lead and have time away from the office. This results in an increase in morale and productivity upon their return,

Create a relaxed workplace culture

All companies should strive to create a relaxed and friendly workplace culture. You should create a culture that encourages employees to take time away from work.

By doing so, your employees will be more content with their workload and feel like they can take more time away from the office.

Regularly communicate with your employees

Hold regular one-to-one meetings with your employees to discuss any concerns they have. This will allow them to open up about anything that is affecting their work-life balance, such as hectic family life or an unrealistic workload.

You should also see this as an ideal opportunity to educate your employees on how important work-life balance is.

Get expert advice on work-life balance with Peninsula

Employee happiness is incredibly important to your company. And having a good work-life balance can go a long way in increasing the happiness within your workforce.

As an employer, you need to understand the different ways to create a better balance. A poor work-life balance can lead to a range of negative connotations for your business. Such as a decrease in employee morale, productivity, and employee retention.

Peninsula offers 24/7 HR advice which is available 365 days a year. We take care of everything when you work with our HR experts.

Want to find out more? Contact us on 0800 051 3687 and book a free consultation with one of our HR consultants.

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