More so now than ever before, people are realising the need for what is known as a healthy work-life balance.
A healthy work-life balance will mean different things to different people. Its not so much about splitting your time 50/50 between work and leisure but making sure you feel fulfilled and content in both areas of your life.
A healthy balance could be:
- Meeting your deadlines at work while still having time for friends or hobbies
- Having enough time to sleep properly and eat well
- Not worrying about work when you are at home
As leaders and managers, it is important that our employees have a good work-life balance.
Not only does it improve their mental health but it benefits the business too. Employees with a good work-life balance are more efficient, productive, and motivated.
Therefore, because staff are happier, we will also see better relationships with employers and fellow employees.
It is becoming increasingly difficult to attract and retain top talent and the cost of employee turnover can be huge for many companies.
For managers to get and keep employees that will keep the business running smoothly and growing, its critical to create a culture that supports and encourages a good work-life balance.
Work-life balance should be modelled from the top down.
To create a culture for your teams where happiness and fulfilment is at its centre, follow our 5 easy steps.
1. Set a good example
Your employees follow your lead. If you send emails at all hours of the day and night and work over the weekends then they will think that’s what’s expected. Make sure you practice what you preach.
2. Insist on proper breaks for everyone
Eating your lunch at your desk is going to make your staff feel like that’s the expectation. Make sure people are given dedicated breaks throughout the day and encouraged to switch off during that time.
If you are office based, create a dedicated space away from desks where people can relax and unwind. If your staff are home based, make sure that breaks are scheduled and taken each day.
We also need to ensure that longer breaks are taken away from work. It’s crucial your team plan their holidays and space them evenly throughout the year so they have regular rest periods.
3. Make sure a line is drawn between work and home
Check that your team have dedicated working spaces that are separate from their home lives so when the day is over, they completely switch off and leave their work behind.
This also includes an agreement to communication parameters. Don’t encourage them to log off at 6 and enjoy their weekends and then send them emails during this time.
Did you know France has a “right to disconnect” law? It places limits on the amount of work that can be done outside of working hours. So avoid contacting your staff outside of their typical working hours so they can completely recharge.
4. Urge them to “work smart” not long
This involves prioritising – allowing a certain amount of time per task – and trying not to get caught up in less productive activities such as unstructured meetings or members of staff that we call time thieves.
Regularly reviewing your teams’ work loads will make sure that individuals have an achievable amount of work and are able to complete what is expected.
5. Introduce flexible working options
Whether this is compressed hours, job sharing or hybrid working. Giving people an option of when and how they work (if appropriate) is going to be key.
Encourage that dad to go to their daughter’s first sports day or to be there for their son’s first day at school.
If possible, adapt finish times to help incorporate school runs or personal hobbies. You will get far more back from your team if your approach to them is flexible.
The biggest part of effective leadership is understanding that not every employee is the same.
We can never approach everyone in our teams with a one-size-fits-all approach. A mother struggling to juggle work and childcare isn’t going to benefit from the same solution as the millennial who wants to balance work with travel.
To help you create a good work-life balance you will need to tailor your approach to each employee.
Your employees are your most valued asset.
“Take care of them and they will take care of your business. It’s as simple as that.” – Richard Branson
Written by Alison Ibrahim – Senior Management, Leadership & Commercial Skills Trainer