Work-life balance is often mentioned when companies discuss improving their employee satisfaction and retention levels
Several recent studies — including the Citrix Canada survey that found 96 percent of employees want jobs that provide a good work-life balance — have shown employees value being able to commit to both work and their time outside the office.
Yet that sometimes seems impossible to achieve. Work-life balance has declined in recent years in the U.K., according to Glassdoor. Eighty-nine percent of U.S. employees feel work-life balance has become a problem, according to a Society for Human Resource Management survey.
When an organization becomes busy, work-life balance can be one of the hardest initiatives to maintain.
Growth, significant staffing changes and other factors can create additional tasks that need to be taken care of quickly — which can often translate into a need for employees to contribute additional hours.
However, to truly ensure employees experience a sense of work-life balance, companies have to make upholding boundaries, even during frenetic periods, a constant focus.
The following tips can help you position workers to be able to give 100 percent in and outside of the office:
Offer helpful employee amenities, if you can
Take a cue from Colgate-Palmolive, which landed the No. 1 spot on Forbes’ list of the 25 companies that are successfully maintaining work-life balance, due to its commitment to providing an environment that respects employees’ personal needs — plus tuition and relocation assistance; nearby childcare centers and other stress-reducing features.
Sustain constant communication
Reminding managers (and employees) that company leadership wants establishing a better work-life balance to be a priority can help ensure an initiative’s guidelines are enforced. Include program messaging in all-staff emails; signage posted around the office and other communication pieces.
Consider implementing contact-related restrictions
Because cell phones and Internet access have become so commonplace in the past 10 to 20 years, employers know they can often easily reach employees after-hours; but that doesn’t meant they should. In 2014, a deal signed by French unions and employers’ federations specified that digital and consultancy sector workers could not be contacted before 9 a.m. or after 6 p.m., according to the BBC. Creating similar rules could help your organization provide a better work-life balance.
The same principle holds true for extended periods away from the office. Emailing questions to an employee who’s sunning on an island likely won’t provide the same level of relaxation a completely work-free break could (and should) offer — which can potentially result in a decrease in employee satisfaction and engagement.
For additional tips on contacting workers who are out of the office — for an evening or more than a week — and maintaining work-life balance, read our blog post on respecting employees’ time off.