With most employees working in highly stressful and competitive environments, adhering to the traditional 9-5 schedules has become a rare occurrence. This, in turn, impacts their personal lives in more than one way; which in turn has an impact on their professional lives and career growth. In fact, just offering a flexible work schedule to employees is expected to help organizations make significant improvements in the overall productivity and efficiency of the workforce, as it helps them to enjoy a better work-life balance leading to a positive impact on their productivity.
An Overview of Work-life Balance
The term work-life balance is extensively used in almost every discussion related to modern work environments. HR experts consider it to be one of the most critical contributing factors for building a highly motivated and engaged workforce. The term can be defined as the ability of an individual to achieve a sense of balance between their personal and professional lives. Having a healthy work-life balance makes it easier for the employees to excel in their workplace while also enjoying a fulfilling life outside. It is based on the concept of employees splitting their time evenly to fulfil their professional responsibilities and following their personal passions to live a healthy and happy life.
Importance of employee work-life balance for organizations
As mentioned before, a healthy work-life balance directly impacts employee engagement and motivation levels besides ensuring their good health and happiness. A poor work-life balance, on the other hand, leaves the employees in a bad state of physical, mental and emotional health reducing their productivity. For example, employees, who let their work to eat into their personal time tend to remain constantly stressed. In most such cases, employees become habitual of working for long hours at night, leaving them with little or no time to pursue their other passions to feel relaxed. They thus become so mentally and emotionally burdened to the extent that they face the risk of burnout at work and fall out in personal relationships. The corporate world is filled with countless examples where organizations have lost their best talent to this vicious circle.
Effective strategies for promoting work-life balance
Despite being aware of the significance of a healthy work-life balance, ensuring the same is not that easy for most employers. However, organizations can consider implementing the following strategies to help their employees achieve this objective:
Working towards ensuring a healthy work-life balance is almost impossible without the organizations first trying to understand their employee needs in this context. For this, organizations should conduct surveys to gain a better understanding of various work-life balance-related factors. These might include excessive work pressure, unrealistic project deadlines, the extra time required by employees to care for a dependent family member and other such issues. Identifying these issues provides the organizations with a specific direction in which they need to work to ensure better work-life balance with high employee motivation levels.
Many times, the employees themselves fail to understand the significance of having a healthy work-life balance. In such cases, organizations need to create awareness about this important subject and the benefits of the same. Organizing seminars, professional presentations or interaction sessions with experts from this field can prove extremely effective. In addition to providing proper guidance to the employees, such awareness programs will also equip them with the right tools to lead a balanced and healthy life.
Allowing flexible working options to the employees is one of the most effective ways to ensure a better work-life balance. It enables the employees to plan their professional tasks in a manner that leaves them with ample time to fulfil their personal responsibilities. For example, employees with school-going kids might be given the freedom to work in the morning shift, making it easier for them to take care of their kids without neglecting their work. Similarly, those with extremely young children or aged parents requiring attention can be given the freedom to work from home. There are numerous similar situations where providing flexible work options can be a boon for the employees.
Some personal events in the life of employees are so important that they gain greater priority than work. Events such as getting engaged or married, the birth of a child or even the death of an immediate family member, fall under this category. Offering paid off time to employees to attend such events goes a long way in enhancing the sense of belonging and loyalty amongst the members of the workforce. This impacts employee motivation quite significantly and results in higher productivity and business impact.
The efforts made by employers in the direction of ensuring a healthy work-life balance assures employees of being valued not just as an asset but also as a human being. It is expected to help organizations make significant improvements in the overall productivity and efficiency of the workforce.
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