Organisations are reporting unprecedented levels of turnover. Forty percent of employees report that they are likely to leave their job within the next 3-6 months. Recent research shows that employees across industries are leaving because they do not feel valued and experience a poor work life balance.
According to Oxford Economics, the average cost of replacing one employee is more than £30,000. The average time that it then takes your new employee to reach their peak productivity levels is more than 28 weeks.
In this article we explain what a good work life balance looks like, the benefits of having a good work life balance at your organisation, as well as the steps you can take to provide opportunities of work life balance at your organisation.
What does work life balance mean?
To put it simply, the division of one’s time and focus between working and one’s personal life like spending time with friends and family or leisure activities is known as work and life balance.
What is a good work life balance?
A good balance between work and personal life happens when you feel fulfilled and content in both your professional and personal life. This doesn’t mean splitting your time 50/50 between work and leisure every day, as that is not always possible.
A few examples of what good work life balance can look like:
- Meeting all your deadlines and still making quality time for your friends and family
- Working hard during the week while pursuing your hobbies on the weekend
- Spending a few weeks working long hours due to circumstantial demands at work and then taking equal time off at home or a vacation
A great way to know if you are balancing work and family correctly, is if both your mind and body are healthy.
Also ask your partner, family, and closest friends if they feel loved and supported, even as you work hard and make strides in your career. The quality of your relationships largely decides whether or not your life and work balance is successful.
Work life balance is a cycle, not an achievement
Researchers at the Harvard Business Review say that work life balance is not a “one-time fix, but rather a cycle that we must engage in continuously as our circumstances and priorities evolve.”
This means honouring what’s important to you in the present without guilt, shame, or apology. This can be anything from taking some time to practice self-care, being present in the moment, having a positive impact on your kid’s lives, or just having strong boundaries with your co-workers.
Ironically, a good work life balance means letting go of the idea of perfectly balancing work and family life every day. You should not consider work or your personal life as a trade-off for each other. Instead, the goal is to simply work and live with flexibility and ease in ways that serve your happiness.
Why is a good work life balance important?
The work life balance is important because we need to make time to cultivate and sustain our relationships. Human lives thrive on the connection we share with others. We are energised solely by our various relationships.
Lack of work life integration is a cause of chronic stress and burnout. That then leads to anxiety, depression, insomnia as well as physical health issues like chronic aches and pains, heart troubles, and hypertension.
Employers need to provide their workforce with an environment that supports them to maintain work life harmony. This will help employers draw a valuable talent pool for new recruits and boost retention rates. It will save time and money while ensuring a high level of in-house talent and productivity.
How do I improve my work-life balance?
Here are some ways you can improve your own work life balance as well as that of your workforce.
1. Understand employee goals
Not everyone has the same work life balance goals. Talk to each employee about their priorities and then determine what you can do to help them. Some employees may benefit from hybrid working, while others may prefer altering their daily work schedule. It’s important to be open-minded and flexible.
2. Set a good example
Your behaviour as a manager or employer determines the health of work life balance at your organisation. If you send emails at all hours of the day and night or work hard on weekends too, your staff thinks that is what is expected of them too. Set good examples of work life balance and your employees will follow.
3. Encourage communication about workplace well-being
Often employees are afraid to speak up about their work life balance needs. It’s important to encourage a culture of openness by letting employees know they will be supported when they are under pressure. Here are a few initiatives you can take :
- Discuss better work life balance opportunities like flexible working hours, hybrid working, parental leave etc.
- Normalise employees to take weekly counselling or therapy sessions during work hours, as they would for medical appointments
- Managers can regularly review their team’s workload and encourage them to speak up when they are under pressure
- Ask employees themselves how you can support them to improve work life balance and implement their considerations
4. Stay at the forefront of trends
Work life balance is a cycle that changes with the times. Keep ahead of the curve on emerging work life balance trends and keep your initiatives fresh, and remember to offer benefits that are actually in demand.
Still looking for inspiration on how to create opportunities for work life balance in your organisation? Here is a list by CNBC on the best global companies with work life balance in 2022.
We understand it can be challenging to single-handedly manage the work life balance of your entire workforce. At Howdy we want to support your employees’ work life balance for the long run. Through a suite of mental wellbeing benefits, our AI algorithms initiate digital screenings that identify employees in need of help and provide invaluable support, which helps to improve the happiness of your employees. Book a free demo of Howdy.
Article written by Payal Mohta – Journalist