Work-life balance

15 August 2019

Keeping a good balance between work and life helps employers attract the best talent and achieve maximum productivity at a reasonable cost.

Employers should allow their staff to draw a clear line between their professional and home life and spend more time with their family and friends during the week.

Working parents should also be able to look after their children and fulfil their parental duties, besides their hobbies.

Work-life imbalance can contribute to health problems among your staff, such as obesity, diabetes, stress, and anxiety. This can lead to increased absenteeism and turnover.

In this guide, we'll discuss what work-life balance is, why it's important, and how employers can support a better work-life balance in their workplace.

What is work-life balance?

Work-life balance is basically maintaining a good balance between employees' professional life and personal life.

Everyone has a different idea of what this looks like. For example, a single lady who recently graduated from the university will have different needs than a married father of three children. It's likely that over time, the balance will change for each person as their demands change.

The bottom line, however, is that an employee's ability to live happily outside of work must not be hindered by the demands of their work.

What causes poor work-life balance?

The following are the most common reasons for workers to believe their job and their personal life aren't balanced:

  • Bad or aggressive employers.
  • Being required to work after usual work hours.
  • Inflexibility with working hours and time off.

The reasons mentioned above have one factor in common, and that's a lack of control. If your employees feel they have little control over how their tasks are performed, they will be disappointed.

Employees who work longer hours are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, and high levels of stress.

Why is work-life balance important?

By creating a workplace that promotes work-life balance, employers can save money while maintaining a happier, more productive workforce.

The following are some of the most important reasons why you have to pay attention to work-life balance in your workplace:

It helps reduce stress

Employees who work long hours when they don't have the ability or who don't delegate work that may be delegated are only adding to their own stress.

To help employees manage stress and anxiety, you should be developing a workplace where they feel comfortable to:

  • Say no to things that aren't their priorities.
  • Delegate as much work as possible.
  • Choose things that are priorities.
  • Prioritise their own well-being.

As an employer, always monitor the current situation of your business, set new priorities and encourage your employees to stick to best practices for a healthy lifestyle.

In the end, they will have a more manageable workload and be able to spend more time on tasks that are crucial to your company's success. That will significantly lessen their levels of stress and anxiety.

It improves mental health

One of the most essential reasons for work-life balance is for workers' mental health. When workers feel balanced, they are better able to deal with negative emotions and thoughts.

The human brain is not intended to be anxious and under pressure all of the time. Work stress can lead to chronic stress over time, which can cause obesity, Alzheimer's disease, diabetes, and depression.

Workers with a more balanced lifestyle will have more mental room to think and will be able to express creative ideas.

It improves physical health

Taking care of physical health is an important part of striking a balanced lifestyle.

Increased productivity is one of the numerous advantages of good employee health. Physical health is linked to improved cognitive processing, making it an important factor in productivity and performance.

Employees who lead healthy lifestyles and exercise frequently take fewer sick days because they are less likely to become ill or injured than those who don't.

It improves relationships

Working long hours means less family time. It also means spending less quality time with them. When someone is fatigued and stressed, it's difficult for them to be present and give their whole attention to others.

Achieving a work-life balance includes spending more quality time with family, friends, and children besides having enough leisure time during the week.

The amount of work you assign to your employees should always leave them enough time for their hobbies and any other activities that they enjoy doing.

It reduces burnout and makes employees more productive

Your employees are one of the main factors determining your company’s performance. Employee burnout can have a negative impact on your company's productivity in a variety of ways, for example:

  • By reducing overall output quality.
  • By increasing the rate of turnover.
  • By diminishing employee engagement.

Giving an employee more work than they can normally handle is one important element that contributes to burnout.

By fostering a good work life balance in your company, you may rest assured that the occurrence of burnout among your employees will be greatly reduced.

A woman working at her desk

How to support a better work life balance for your employees

Many employers may find it challenging to identify and improve their employees' current work-life balance.

To support employee well-being, companies should keep track of their staff working hours throughout weeks or months rather than days. They can then determine how much time each worker spends working and how much time they spend doing other things.

The following are some practical ways to help your staff achieve a healthier work life balance:

Offer flexible hours and remote working

Implementing flexible working hours is an effective way of creating work-life balance for your staff.

Working remotely helps people to relax and spend more time with their families, reducing stress and having a greater sense of control over their lives.

Other advantages include enhanced employee engagement, improved hiring standards, and increased corporate innovation and creativity.

Support working parents

People rarely pay attention to how work impacts their personal life until a major life event occurs. This can be the birth of a child or the death of someone close to them.

Employers should consider using flexible arrangements for parents to do their job. Employed parents are entitled to a variety of leaves, including maternity leave, paternity leave, and parental leave, as well as financial assistance for maternity and parental leave.

Be aware of these rights and make sure they have enough time to share with their family throughout the week.

Trust your people

You can foster a balanced lifestyle in your company by trusting your staff and giving them the freedom to do their job on their own terms.

For example, you can give them a specific deadline for them and let them finish the job as best as they can without requiring them to be in the office at a specific time.

This can also lead to better mental health and less stress among the workforce and help them achieve more in less time.

Two parents with their baby.

Get advice on work-life balance from Peninsula

Maintaining a healthy balance between work and life is crucial not only for an employee's health but also for their productivity and performance.

Work-life imbalance can cause your staff to become obese, develop diabetes, experience stress and anxiety, and turn over more frequently.

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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