The importance of work-life balance

Achieving work-life balance is difficult. We explore the importance of balance to help you create engaged and happy employees who enjoy work-life balance.

Work plays an important role in all our lives. Our earnings ensure that the lights don’t go out, the food is on the table and the pot is filled for rainy days. In today’s unpredictable and fast-paced business world, achieving work-life balance is no easy task.

As we become more connected through technology and social media, it becomes increasingly difficult to separate work from our personal lives. It’s commonplace for us to check email 24/7, take business calls during dinner, and work on our laptops on the weekends. How has this become acceptable?

Employers expect more from their employees, which leads to them feeling more pressure to produce better results. This leads to longer hours and less time spent at home. As a business leader, you are responsible for helping your entire team balance the demands of work and home life. Even your most dedicated employees may still struggle to find balance….

How important is work-life balance?

A healthy work-life balance is not only important for health and relationships, but it can also improve productivity and ultimately the performance of your employees. Simply put, when your employees don’t view work as a chore, they work harder, make fewer mistakes, and are more likely to become advocates for your brand.

Companies that have earned a reputation for promoting work-life balance have become very attractive – especially considering how difficult it can be to attract and retain younger workers these days. According to Oxford Economic, replacing an employee costs around £30,000 on average, and it takes up to 28 weeks to get them back up to speed. With this in mind, it might be a good idea to keep your existing employees happy. By focusing on work-life balance, you can attract a valuable talent pool for new employees and increase retention rates. This will save you time and money while ensuring a high level of internal talent.

Below are a few more reasons why work-life balance is important to your employees and your business:

Fewer health problems

When we are stressed and overworked, we run the risk of jeopardizing not only our social lives, but also our physical and mental health.

It’s no secret that our health suffers when we are overworked, tired or stressed. A poor work-life balance can lead to a variety of symptoms that can affect our well-being. These range from the flu to serious illnesses such as strokes and respiratory diseases. A study of more than 10,000 participants conducted by UCL found that employees who worked three or more hours longer than required had a 60% higher risk of heart problems than those who did not work overtime.

Encouraging your employees to take care of themselves and find balance will significantly reduce health problems and absenteeism. This will ensure that your company operates more efficiently during business hours and that employees enjoy being a part of the company and its culture.

More engagement

By helping your employees find the perfect work-life balance, you will increase their engagement. This has many positive effects: According to a 2006 Tower Perrin global study, “Companies with highly engaged employees had a nearly 52% performance advantage in operating income.” In addition, “Companies with high employee engagement improved their bottom line by 19.2%, while companies with low employee engagement saw a 32.7% decline.”

An engaged workforce leads to your employees going the “extra mile” for you and becoming loyal advocates for your brand and product. This is evidenced by the Temkin Group, which points out that “engaged employees are 2.5 times more likely to work late when something needs to get done after the normal workday.”

Fewer ‘burnouts

We all get stressed from time to time. It’s inevitable. However, burnouts in the workplace are preventable, and you should strive to make sure it doesn’t happen to your employees. Burnouts occur when we feel overwhelmed and unable to cope with the constant demands. The negative effects of burnout can impact every aspect of our lives.

The inability to separate work and personal life massively increases the risk of burnout. That’s why it’s important to encourage your team to take time off and “leave work at work.”

More mindfulness

When we find and maintain a healthy work-life balance, we develop greater control over our focus and ability to concentrate on the task at hand – this is called mindfulness. Wouldn’t you prefer a team that is fully focused on their work, rather than worrying about work and personal life?

By encouraging your employees to have a healthy work-life balance, you will create an environment where everyone is focused on the task at hand. This will improve employee retention, productivity, and ultimately the bottom line.

Now that we know why this is important, let’s explore how you can help your employees achieve a healthy work-life balance:

Tips for Improving Work-Life Balance

Encourage time off:

Vacation isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. Taking a break from work gives you the opportunity to switch off and enjoy, and is a great way to unwind and re-energize. This is important so that your employees can be more productive and focused when they return to the office.

Numerous studies have shown that vacations increase productivity and reduce stress. The American Sociological Association produced a report showing that taking more vacation days leads to a decrease in people’s mental stress.

An effective way to encourage your employees to take vacation is to implement a “use it or lose it” system, where unused days are not carried over or financially repaid at the end of the year.

Introduce short breaks throughout the day:

If it is not possible for your employees to take time off, then it is important to introduce short breaks throughout the day. The human body is not designed to stare at a bright screen for hours on end. It’s not good for our health or our mental well-being.

To combat this, you could set up a play space where employees can meet and take their minds off work. Consider encouraging light exercise throughout the day and introduce walking meetings outside the office. You can even go out for coffee together as a team. Some leading companies hire meditation practitioners to calm and relax their employees.

All of these techniques will have a positive impact on your team’s work performance, productivity, and workplace satisfaction.

Ask your employees for advice:

If you’re struggling to find innovative ways to improve your employees’ work-life balance, why not ask them?

If you find that your employees are struggling to find balance, find out what changes they think would improve their situation. By collaborating with your team, you’ll gain better insight into their thinking, and you’ll be able to collaborate more effectively on strategies in the future.

To facilitate these discussions, consider holding regular meetings or implementing real-time culture feedback programs that give you data-driven insights. This way, you can accurately assess how your employees are feeling at any given time and make adjustments to ensure they have the right balance.

Practice what you preach:

Finally, it’s important to set a good example. Telling your employees to get off work at six o’clock and not to work on the weekend, but sending them emails during that time, sends a very conflicting message. It also puts additional pressure on your employees to work around your hours. Set a good example and see how your work practices will impact the entire company. In France, there is a law called the “Right to Disconnect.” It ensures that workloads are limited outside of office hours. Why not introduce something similar in your workplace?

It’s important to respect the balance and privacy of your team when they’re out of the office. This means that you should avoid contacting them outside of office hours to give them the opportunity to completely switch off and recover from the daily stress of work.

Most of us spend a large portion of our time at work. We allow work to affect all aspects of our lives. With this in mind, it’s important to find the right balance and implement it in your workplace. This will allow you and your employees to switch off from work and also give equal attention to your personal life.

When you loosen the reins when it comes to your employees’ work-life balance, you make great strides in building an engaged and productive team.

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