In the last months, the only thing that has remained certain is uncertainty. The structure, routine, and balance that have been the constant foundation of people’s lives for years suddenly went up in smoke.
It could seem like we are all starting to get accustomed to the new normal, but this isn’t the case for a number of people still in search of their new norm, and now trying to figure out how to properly balance their new work and personal life.
Work-life balance involves juggling workplace stress with the daily pressures of family, friends, and self.
Why all the fuss about it? For one, employees with such balance tend to feel more motivated and less stressed by their work. That, of course, increases their overall productivity and ultimately reduces workplace conflicts : people are given a great sense of control and ownership over their own lives. Consequently, they tend to have better relationships with management and can leave work issues at the office and personal issues at home.
Human Resource Managers have a sole role to play. They are to guide companies into fostering a workplace culture that encourages a work-life balance for staff members. To help with that, here are five ways to set you along in the right direction.
Set the Example
As a manager, you must have a work-life balance yourself. It would be uncanny if you came to work at the break of dawn and stayed till late after work hours, or required work from your colleagues over the weekend! Employees will feel compelled to do the same jeopardizing other areas of their lives that need their attention..
You have to demonstrate that you have a healthy balance by working reasonable hours. Staying out of work on the weekends and showing that you have interests outside of the office helps as well.
You must also make it easy for everyone to set boundaries and communicate personal limitations for job expectations. Employees will know that boundaries are essential and that it is okay to place value on a life outside of work.
Maintain a Consistent Structure
One of the reasons why a work-life balance can be so elusive is anxiety. Employees who are uncertain about what to expect from work daily, can end up feeling anxious which makes a work-life balance impossible. It is vital to maintain a sense of consistency and organisation in your company structure such that the employees know exactly what is expected of them and when. Additionally, a consistent work structure gives room for employees to make personal arrangements for things outside work and say yes to trying new things.
Foster an Accountable Environment
Some workplaces run on playing things by ear and it may seem like that works. This however, usually stresses employees out and creates a hectic work environment that can counteract employee commitment. Give your employees a clear picture of the management hierarchy. The roles and responsibilities of everyone across the company have to be properly spelt out. Ensure that everyone is on the same page concerning who’s who and who does what. When roles and responsibilities are clearly stated, employees don’t have to play guess games or intentionally drop balls under the pretence of ignorance.
Engage in Team-Building Exercises
Nothing kills off anxiety and stress like a workspace ripe with positive energy. If your employees feel like they can depend on each other for support, they will feel free to share when they have trouble with work and need help.
They will feel more comfortable sharing when they are stressed out or overwhelmed: they know their colleagues will have their back, which is the result of constant team-building exercises.
Additionally, there is often a disconnect between the leadership team and employees. Team building exercises can give the leadership a chance to be seen as a colleagues and peers. This does wonders for employee morale.
Overall, team building in the workplace enables better communication, better relationships, and ultimately increases productivity.
Due to some companies’ structures, it can be difficult for employees to take vacations: no one may be available to do their jobs when they take time off.
Some other companies won’t even allow more than the miserly two weeks of vacation per year! That is a disregard for personal time and rejuvenation; 14 days off per 365 days in the year isn’t enough to achieve a work-life balance.
Your structure must place a priority on employees taking reasonable time off annually, primarily to rejuvenate. Tired employees will do the company no good in the long run.
Encourage your employees to take their vacations when due. Also, make arrangements for their roles and responsibilities. Implement a “use it or lose it” vacation policy. The policy should state that Employees’ allotted vacation time expires at the end of the year if left unused. This usually helps employees who feel paranoid about leaving their jobs to go on vacation.
Without a doubt, the long-term benefits of encouraging employees to find a work-life balance greatly benefit both the individuals and the companies they work for.