Work-life balance guide for businesses

15 August 2019

Ensuring your employees have better professional and social lives is a priority for a lot of modern businesses. It can provide you and your staff with many advantages.

By making sure your workforce has the right amount of rest alongside their daily duties, it generally provides employees with more control over their lives.

Let’s take a look at with this involves so you can make an informed decision on how to approach this for your business.

Remember, you can speak to our 24/7 HR team if you want to cut to the chase with immediate help on this matter.

What is work-life balance?

It’s the break-up of your employees’ time and focus on professional duties and their time off.

In recent years, businesses have realised the importance of ensuring staff aren’t overworked, which has encouraged flexible working environments.

The idea behind this is it ensures your staff can focus properly on their downtime, which means they have more options to improve their social and family lives.

The benefits of work life balance for employees are that they generally feel more in control of their lives. This can in turn mean:

  • Happier employees.
  • Better overall productivity.
  • Long-term commitment to your business.
  • Higher retention rates for you.
  • More office space for non-remote workers.

Regarding any work-life balance legislation, there are the Working Time Regulations 1998 to keep in mind. But no specific laws on, for example, what you should do if you’re looking to implement flexitime to your business.

Why your business needs to consider it

The importance of work life balance shouldn't be underestimated. It makes for happier employees. And this can improve their productivity at work as they’re more likely to be happy to get up each morning and head into work.

But there are three main reasons why it’s a good idea to promote a better work-life balance:

  1. Mental health benefits: Avoiding burnout and stress. If employees can take more control over their schedules, then they can manage these issues more effectively.
  2. Physical advantages: With a healthier mind, staff will take part in more exercise and healthy eating.
  3. Productivity enhancements: From a business perspective, and for employee satisfaction, a happier member of your workforce will produce better quality work.

They’ll also be able to work towards becoming more efficient in their respective roles, meaning they can push on with your business to meet career expectations.

How to improve work-life balance for employees

Your approach to this depends on the type of business you run and the industry you’re in.

Many employees would prefer flexible start and finish times, for example, but it may not be appropriate for you.

You can refer to the below work-life balance initiatives for employees as these can help you find approaches that can help you implement effective new practices:

  • Monitor staff for burnout: Absenteeism, presenteeism, and mood changes can indicate an employee is struggling with stress. This can be due to excessive workloads, so your business should be vigilant in stopping overwork.
  • Use flexible schedules: This enables your staff to balance out their personal and professional needs more effectively.
  • Promote working from home: Remote workers benefit from a wide range of health and financial benefits, so it’s no surprise employees like this approach to working life. If your business can manage it, then it’s a welcome perk (even if it’s only for a few days a week) for long-term staff.
  • Promote working smarter: You shouldn’t promote presenteeism at work. Long hours can lead to burnout—the better approach is to focus on working efficiently to get more done.
  • Support healthy practices: Offer discounts to local gyms and offer healthy food around the office. Promoting a healthier lifestyle can help your employees to naturally embrace positive new outlooks.

There are challenges in work-life balance ideas that you should keep in mind. These include ensuring fairness across your workforce and ensuring your policies don’t disrupt your daily routine.

You should be especially wary of any work-life balance initiatives that reduce productivity. This may include a remote worker not having the appropriate technology to complete their job successfully.

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