The thin line between personal and professional lives of employees has been steadily blurring over the last few years, what with them being under constant pressure to perform, achieve targets, meet deadlines, and race ahead in an insanely competitive world. This has made it increasingly difficult for employees to pay due attention to their personal life or spend quality time with their loved ones. So, even as their work takes the centre stage, their personal life could well be in doldrums.
Since the 9-to-5 jobs are now history in many parts of the world, and competition between private firms continues to be fierce, employees often end up stretching the number of working hours to meet work exigencies and outperform one another. A grueling work schedule is the order of the day, as stressed out employees continue to dedicate a bulk of their time to work.
As an employer, you might be secretly happy to see that your employees are going out of their way for you, but you can rest assured that such unhealthy work culture will only spell doom for all involved in the long-term.
There are several measures that you, as an employer, can take to provide your staff with a healthy work-life balance. You can help them divide their time between work and family in a way that results in a win-win situation for both of you.
Happy and motivated employees will not only give you quality output in terms of work, but will also stay engaged and loyal to your company. This isn’t an initiative that’s unheard of, as several top multinational corporations have already made their employees’ work-life balance a matter of priority and a part of their HR strategy.
In this post, we take you through steps that you, as a responsible employer, can take to bring about a healthy equilibrium in the life of your employees.
You will do well in formulating policies related to achieving work-life balance for your employees in conjunction with your HR department. Once you make these policies official and streamline them with your work culture, your employees will have to be educated about their entitlements.
Having such policies in place boosts employee morale and productivity as your staff realise their company isn’t exploiting them. Employee-friendly policies with regards to annual leaves, holidays, sabbaticals, flexible working hours, and telecommuting must be included in your HR strategy.
Create a Safe Environment
Allow your employees to voice their concerns and opinions. If an employee feels overwhelmed or is experiencing stress due to long working hours, he should be able to express it without having to fear a backlash for doing so.
It would be a good idea to install drop-boxes in your office and ask your employees to drop into them their views and opinions (anonymously), for feedback purposes. These opinions can then be worked upon as long as they contribute to an improved work environment. Get to know your employees by organizing office gatherings or meals and hobnob with them to understand their needs.
For Working Women
The growing participation of women and mothers in workforce requires employers to create policies that do not marginalize them. Women often need to balance their responsibilities at work and home, so it is only natural that they may not always be able to stay back at work beyond the normal working hours.
Singapore’s Employment Act ensures that companies must grant women basic provisions such as maternity and childcare leaves. Companies must also make efforts to enforce policies and frameworks that protect women against sexual harassment and bullying at the workplace.
Use Technology to Bridge the Gap
We live in an age of 24/7 accessibility. All it takes for a person to work from home is a laptop and an internet connection. Make this work for your business. Certain types of jobs do not require employees to be physically in the office all the time. This can work as a great incentive for working mothers, single parents or staff who are taking care of elderly or ill family members. Also, it saves you the cost of having that many staff in the office.
Discourage Employees from Taking Work Home
Make sure that your employees do not take their work back home. There has to be a definitive demarcation between the time dedicated to work and to the family. That is the whole intent of work-life policies.
Managers should monitor their staff and ensure that they do not take their work home unnecessarily. Encourage employees to de-stress and regroup by enjoying the company of their loved ones. Managers also need to encourage their staff to make use of vacation time and sick leaves as and when required, and see to it that they aren’t disturbed with work-related queries when they are on leave or are ill.
Conduct Employee Satisfaction Surveys
Conducting surveys from time to time is the best way to gauge your employees’ well-being. A well-designed questionnaire will yield insights into what your employees need, expect, to what extent are your current policies effective in helping him or holding him back.
Depending on the feedback you receive, you can adjust or formulate strategies to make your workplace more conducive to the people who are helping you reach your goals.
Achieving work-life balance is increasingly becoming an issue to reckon with and most HR departments are taking this subject seriously in a bid to retain talent. Employers can no longer afford to ignore employee needs and other factors affecting them, or they risk losing productivity and loyalty. There is, however, a long way to go before work-life balance becomes a reality in all work places.