Whether you’re a business owner, manager, or employee, you’ve undoubtedly heard the term “work-life balance” over the last few years. It’s become something of a buzzword but an incredibly important one.
Now more than ever, employees are feeling empowered. More people are recognizing the importance of their mental well-being as well as their value and worth in the workplace. As a result, businesses have had to adapt, ensuring their employees can strike that balance effectively.
Doing so can help just about any business attract high-quality employees while reducing turnover.
If you’re a business owner, creating a healthy work-life balance model should be at the top of your priority list. The last thing you want is to establish a workplace environment that contributes to low employee morale.
So, what are some of the best practices to ensure a positive work-life balance, and how can you start utilizing them immediately?
Understand Your Employees
The first step to reducing turnover is to understand who your employees are and what they really want. It doesn’t matter if you have a small business of 10 people or a huge corporation, there are a few generalities that make it clearer why employees are being “pickier,” and choosing to leave careers that don’t fit their needs.
When work interferes with an employee’s free time, or especially time with their family, it can lead to job dissatisfaction, organizational commitment decline, and an increase in turnover. However, several factors typically determine whether an employee will choose to leave or stay at a particular job, including
- Their feelings about the organization
- Other benefits aside from a work-life balance
- Expectations of family and friends
- Moral forces
- Behavioral forces
Beyond understanding what your employees want, adopting practices that encourage a healthy work-life balance will improve your business by reducing absenteeism, increasing productivity, and creating a more positive workplace environment. All of those benefits will make it even more likely for your current employees to stay while making it easier to attract new hires.
Who is Doing It Right?
If you’re stumped on ideas to create a better work-life balance for your employees, take a look at the businesses doing it right today. The biggest proponent of this healthy lifestyle is Google. They’ve always been famous for their employee benefits and perks, but one of the biggest is adopting a healthy work-life integration. Google gives up to 12-weeks of maternity/paternity leave and allows many employees to work remotely.
Companies like Yahoo, AOL, and Facebook also have incredible work-life benefits that especially cater to families, ensuring their employees make their physical and mental well-being a priority.
You might not be in a place to offer 12-weeks off to your employees or to let them work freely from home whenever they want.
However, you can use these successful brands to inspire practices that work for your business. For example, if you can’t afford to lose an employee to full-time remote work, consider allowing them to work from home one day a week or reduce their hours each day while keeping their pay the same.
By making small changes, you’ll keep your employees happy and more motivated.
Take the Time to Restructure
Whether you’ve tried expanding your work-life balance practices before or not, it’s never a bad idea to take a fresh look at your business plan.
It could use some restructuring and updating.
One way to make sure you’re meeting the needs and wants of your employees and showing that you support them is to create goals. Perform a SWOT analysis on your business, so you know where to focus your efforts. SWOT stands for
A SWOT analysis is an easy and effective way to take a look at your current practices and determine where there are “holes” that need to be fixed.
Your existing strengths might already include a positive workplace environment. Maybe your employees are happy while they’re at work, but it’s not enough. A weakness could involve not giving your employees enough free time or time away from the workplace. It’s when you look at your weaknesses (as difficult as it can be) that you’ll discover new opportunities to support your employees, and make yourself aware of any threats on the horizon if you don’t make changes – including turnover.
Ensuring a positive work-life balance often looks different for each business. For some, it might include more remote opportunities. For others, it can be a four-day workweek. Consider going directly to your employees, sending out surveys, or talking to them face-to-face to determine what’s best for them. Not only will they appreciate the support, but you’ll get clear answers that will be in the best interest of your business’s future. You might even find that the better balance you’re able to strike, the more productivity and success your business starts to see.
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