5 Ways Employers can Improve Work-Life Balance for Employees
The lines between work life and personal life are continuing to blur.
According to a 2018 MetLife study, employees are more committed to companies that enable enrichment not only at work but in their personal lives as well. When companies invest in their employees as a whole person, those employees are more satisfied and more engaged in their organizations. In fact, 87 percent of employees reported feeling more satisfied, and 77 percent reported feeling more engaged when their organizations prioritized a healthy work-life balance.
And employers are listening.
The same study also indicated that 58 percent of employers say providing employees with benefits designed to improve work-life balances is an important benefits strategy.
What Is Work-Life Balance?
Work-life balance is quite the buzzword these days, and for good reason. This term means the balance between the time allotted for work and the time allotted for personal life. Good work-life balance indicates a well-balanced life, which fosters employees’ well being and helps them to thrive in both their professional and personal spheres.
Why Is Work-Life Balance Important?
Achieving work-life balance is challenging. It can be tough carving out time for family, friends, self-care, hobbies, and community while trying to meet the demands of your professional life. If an employee spends a majority of their time working and feels like they are neglecting the other areas of their lives, they often experience frustration, burnout, and unhappiness.
That’s why when organizations promote good work-life balance, employees are less likely to experience stress and more likely to have a more positive outlook on their professional and personal lives overall. In a survey, 72 percent of respondents listed work-life balance as a crucial factor while job hunting. A good work-life balance can fuel employees with:
- Better health
- Greater loyalty, commitment, and engagement
- Increased productivity
Therefore, focusing on how to improve work-life balance for employees is a vital part of an organization’s success. If your people are feeling their best, they will do their best work.
Work-Life Balance Company Examples
So, what can your company do to foster a better work-life balance to keep employees happy and engaged? Consider incorporating these employee perks into your overall benefits packages and within your company culture.
Here’s the bad news: The United States doesn’t exactly have a stellar track record when it comes to supporting new parents. The good news? This doesn’t have to be the norm. Providing even modest parental perks will go a long way to impress recruits and retain current employees.
There are several niche companies which are growing in popularity that can help supplement the need for parental support.
Maven Maternity is a new company that offers a full suite of digital programs to support families before, during, and after pregnancy. Other companies are beginning to provide on-site childcare or even childcare stipends to ease the personal financial burden of returning to work. If investing in a new benefit is not feasible, consider instead offering a paid maternity leave program, extended maternity leave, or even a flexible return-to-work program to help new parents adjust to their new lives.
“Mom mentorship” programs are another creative solution practiced at innovative companies that pair new moms with current working moms within the organization. The mentorship program provides support and guidance from individuals who have navigated the same unique challenges that come with returning to work postpartum.
And, don’t forget dads! Most organizations neglect to offer any time off, paid or unpaid, for new dads. Consider building in time for dads to enjoy family time with their new addition! Example perks include paid or unpaid paternity leave, flex time or remote work opportunities, on-site childcare, additional sick days that can be used to care for children, and counseling programs—to name a few.
Generous Paid Time Off
One of the best ways to support work-life balance? Less work, more life.
Most companies offer a standard 10 days off per year, in addition to 10 paid holidays. But why settle for just being average? Impress employees and recruits with creative and generous PTO programs to really drive home the importance of balancing work with personal time.
BambooHR embraces this concept with the Paid Paid Vacation program, which offers employees $2,000 per year to spend on a vacation, on top of already offering paid time off. Other creative PTO ideas include Summer Fridays (or other early release days), paid sabbatical, floating birthday PTO, mental health days, time off for volunteer or service projects, and even unlimited vacation days.
Flexible Work Schedule
Life rarely happens strictly between the hours of 5 PM and 9 AM, so why expect your employees to handle all life events outside of regular work hours?
If your industry permits, enacting a flexible work policy will go a long way to increase retention and loyalty. This could mean a general shift in work hours by allowing employees to come in early and leave early or to come in late and leave late. Supporting flexible work schedules might also mean allowing employees the ability to leave during the day to attend family and personal events.
Opportunities to Work Outside/Remotely
Working in the office for 40 hours a week can become monotonous and decrease employee productivity. On the other hand, letting your staff work outside of the office or at home can increase satisfaction, boost productivity, and foster creativity among your people. Plus, it can be an appealing perk for potential candidates.
Contrary to popular belief, health and wellness initiatives are not just good for employees. Studies have shown that incorporating well-rounded wellness initiatives into your overall benefits program can drive down the cost of healthcare, increase productivity, and decrease absenteeism over time—all of which will save your company money!
Perks that can help keep your employees in tip-top shape include smoking cessation programs, an on-site gym or gym stipend, company-hosted blood drives or flu shot clinics, an on-site stock of healthy snacks, and a wellness stipend, to name a few.
Lead By Example
It’s hard to encourage a healthy work-life balance when executives and managers are setting the tone by working long hours or not taking much time away from the office over the holidays.
Culture starts at the top, so organizational leaders need to set the tone. Think about it—if your executives are coming in early and staying late every single day, how can they encourage their employees to do the exact opposite of the behaviors that they exemplify? Make sure that work-life balance is a significant focus across the entire organization, and that company executives are leading the way by prioritizing personal lives.
There you have it: five ways employers can encourage employees to embrace a better work-life balance. Of course, there are plenty of other great programs out there to help support the cause. Do you have any tips? Share your favorite ideas below!
Based in beautiful Charleston, South Carolina, Meisha Bochicchio works as the Content Marketing Manager for PlanSource. With over 20 years of benefits experience, PlanSource provides innovative technology solutions for a better HR experience. You can connect with Meisha on Twitter at @MarketingMeisha.
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