It used to be that employees could work a typical 9-to-5 shift and leave work at work. Nowadays, however, with the combination of higher global demands and technology, many employees work more than the standard 40-hour workweek. In addition, cell phones and email have made it so employers expect them to be on-call after hours. Yet a 2004 report from the CDC’s Department of Health shows that working more than the standard 40 hours benefits almost no one. So how can you encourage your employees find that balance between work and life?
- Ask what they need. Today’s schedules outside of the office go all over the place. You can’t possibly know the needs of every employee, so ask them. Have them do a survey about how your company allows (or does not allow) them to find that balance between work and home life. They should be able to respond regarding flexible scheduling, support for working parents or students, how many hours they work, and the like. Then look them over to see where your company could make changes to benefit that balance with viable solutions for everyone.
- Consider less “traditional” forms of employment. If you really want to encourage the concept of work-life balance, seriously examine the concept of flextime, where employees can have a life outside the office while still getting their work done. You may want to set it up so they have to work a certain number of hours per week, for example, but they have choice in which hours they do. You may also want to support telecommuting if it makes sense — many employees would love the ability to work from home once or twice a week. You may fear less productivity at home, but generally, those who use it can be 13 percent more effective doing this. Using these sorts of schedules lets your employees know you see them as people, and they will focus more on their work as a result.
- Offer what they want. Two major factors employees worry about are childcare and exercise. When stressing about one or both, an employee’s mind isn’t on their work. Help alleviate some of that stress by offering childcare at your facility and having on-site exercise equipment or classes that employees can use any time during the day if it’s feasible (not when a huge project deadline looms, for example). If you can’t offer those, give parents the leeway to leave work for a sick child or to see a soccer game — that’s where flextime comes into play. Or offer a discount at a local gym.
Happy, healthy employees are productive employees. Helping them find the work-life balance will make for a more satisfied and efficient workforce all around. For advice on other health needs, visit the experts at Medical Professionals.