Is your workforce retention rate low? Have you registered some cases of burnout over the last couple of years? Do you sometimes have the feeling your colleagues are on the edge?
You might want to learn work-life balance tips for employees and share them with your team members. If you’ve answered yes to the above questions, it might be a sign that you need to discuss with your coworkers and help them improve their work-life balance.
Moreover, being people-centric has become a core aspect of companies’ strategies to create a happy and successful working environment. Workers who reach the right balance between their jobs and personal lives are less stressed, more productive, and more engaged in their tasks. A good equilibrium between professional and private life also enhances well-being and decreases the risk of workplace burnout.
These are the reasons why helping your staff find work-life balance can significantly impact your business. Here are 13 ideas to improve work-life balance every HR professional should implement and share with team leaders!
1. Stop chasing the perfect work-life balance
Before starting to share with you tips about work-life balance, we want to highlight two crucial points. First, we all have different definitions of work-life balance. Second, everything does not always go as planned. When discussing this topic with your staff, remind them of these two aspects. They should not put too much pressure on themselves to find the perfect equilibrium between their job and private lives.
So, the first tip to reach a better work-life balance is to stop chasing perfection and be flexible. Some events may come along, and they can’t finish work when they initially intended to in their “ideal” schedule. Fine. They will work less the next day and probably enjoy this time even more as they have a clear mind and have completed everything. Obviously, they also need your support in doing so. So, stay with us. We will talk about the benefits of implementing flexitime at the end of the article.
2. Bring purpose to their job
Many people are looking to bring more meaning to their careers. This plays a massive role in experiencing a better work-life balance. We spend so much time working in our lives. This time cannot be wasted doing a job that doesn’t align with who your employees are and their values.
Moreover, doing a job that doesn’t make them thrive is counterproductive for them and the company. This can lead to poor mental health, symptoms of burnout, lack of productivity, and disengagement. This doesn’t mean they must quit. But simply learning new skills and switching positions can sometimes greatly improve how they feel toward their career.
3. Support them in putting their health first
Health is everything. Therefore, it should be the top priority on your workers’ agenda. Whether they want to improve their physical, mental, or emotional health, we recommend not to postpone any activity that will help them reach this goal. Not taking care of themselves will, without doubt, impact their free time as much as their working abilities. How can they deliver a great job if they don’t feel well?
Focusing on their health first is neither selfish nor a “nice-to-do” thing when they have time. When we are not in a good state of mind, we can’t function properly and do what is expected. It is as simple as this. Also, when working from home, doing sports or meditation can be fantastic end-of-the-day rituals to separate work and personal life. Improving employee well-being should be at the top of your priorities as a company.
4. Remind them to take real breaks
A coffee break while checking emails does not count. Recharging batteries is crucial to stay productive and mentally healthy. We aren’t only talking about the few weeks of vacation your staff are entitled to every year. We also mean doing pauses throughout the day.
Sometimes, workers get caught in a whirlwind of tasks and requests, not seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. Taking a break in those moments often feels unimaginable and counterproductive. Well, not letting our brains rest for a few minutes is what is unproductive.
Therefore, it is key for your team members to learn to take a step back and be ready to tackle their responsibilities even better. Some people may have a cup of coffee with colleagues and manage to turn off their minds this way. Others may meditate. Encourage employees to look for their “reset routines” and implement them daily.
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5. Encourage them to plan holidays
Remind your coworkers that the world is not going to stop because you’re gone, although it might sometimes feel like it. Longer breaks are also a key component of a good work-life balance. Unfortunately, some people keep pushing this enjoyable moment away. They are scared of disrupting the workflow or that something bad will happen while hiking in the middle of Machu Picchu without an internet connection.
The thing is, something can always happen. Either they’re at work or not. Delaying their vacation is just increasing the stress and fatigue in their mind and body. Shall we mention how this can end? Their productivity and performance will be affected, but most seriously, this can have consequences on their personal and professional relationships and health. So, again, remind them to put themselves first!
6. Highlight the value of personal time
We spend an average of 90,000 hours working (10.3 years). This is massive, which is why work-life balance has become such a famous topic over the last few years. Finding work-life balance isn’t only about changing aspects of our professional lives. It also improves how we spend our personal time. Might it be chilling on the couch alone, going out with friends, biking with family, etc.
It might not always be easy and take time to become a new habit. Yet, your staff must focus on doing what they love and creating quality moments when not at work. To help them do so, suggest that they integrate those moments into their weekly schedule. Most importantly, remind them not to check work-related content (e-mails, WhatsApp messages, Slack channels, etc.) when off.
7. Advise them to set clear boundaries
There are moments for answering emails and time for cooking lunch. It’s crucial that your team members don’t mix up personal and professional tasks. This is also part of learning to take breaks and switch off. Setting clear boundaries between the different activities in their day is essential for reaching a better work-life balance and managing their mental health.
Some classic tips to keep these limits include avoiding looking at their work messages before falling asleep or putting laundry on during their working time (if they do home office), for example. This tip is fundamental to keeping a healthy work-life balance in a hybrid work environment.
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8. Allow them to go on workation
The word “workation” is the combination of “work” and “vacation” and is one of the best examples of the work flexibility concept. It allows your employees to take some time off and travel while still working simultaneously. So now you’re lost because we’ve just told you they shouldn’t mix their professional and private lives, but we encourage you to promote workation.
A change of settings boosts productivity and helps people come back refreshed. If this option is well organized, it can increase performance while bringing more balance to your workers’ lives. Even though this idea is still new, more and more companies are offering this benefit to their staff, seeing the advantages it provides to them and their employees.
9. Build a family-friendly work environment
The time when we had to choose between being a parent or having a successful career is over. Consequently, building a family-friendly work environment is essential to help employees balance their jobs and personal responsibilities. Childcare facilities within the office or close by should be on the top list of all businesses promoting a positive and healthy work environment.
Also, with the development of hybrid working models, working from home or taking a day off because your child is sick shouldn’t be an issue. Allowing your employees to handle their private and professional lives accordingly is key to a better work-life balance.
10. Say yes to the home office and goodbye to unnecessary stress
As our remote work statistics article reveals, hybrid teams are less stressed, feel happier, and have healthier relationships with colleagues, friends, and family. Enabling flexibility at work is a great people-centric approach. It boosts productivity and engagement and increases the overall employee experience. Moreover, it attracts and retains talents as it fosters a better work-life balance, which has become crucial for many workers.
Allowing a home office does require some changes and adjustments to make the most out of it. Yet, a well thought and implemented hybrid work model is one of the most effective ways to improve work-life balance. With more flexibility, employees can juggle their jobs and personal activities better, especially if you also introduce flexitime.
11. Let them embrace flexitime
Everyone has their own way of working, personality, and needs. Some people are early birds and have their productivity peak in the morning, while others can have a workflow late at night. Other aspects of your employees’ lives can also make their daily schedule different from their colleagues.
Mornings with kids can be quite hectic, for example. So, if you have parents working from home in your workforce, they may prefer to start a bit later. Like this, children are at school, and they can be 100% focused instead of trying to work while everybody is getting ready around them.
Flexitime is a great solution to fulfill your employees’ needs according to their lives. This is undoubtedly an amazing concept to implement to help your workers reach a healthy work-life balance.
⏰ Read our article about flexitime to learn more about this topic and the pros and cons of this flexible working model!
12. Enable them to have an organized hybrid work-life
Flexible work arrangements allow your team members to reach the perfect equilibrium between working from home and coming on-site when requested or wanting to. However, organization is key to introducing more flexibility in your work environment.
From your perspective, you must set up a well-thought-out and structured hybrid work strategy. This implies sharing your hybrid work policy and providing them with the necessary tools. For example, you should give them the opportunity to reserve the workspace they want when coming to the office. This enables them to ensure they have the desk or meeting room they wish for on-site. From their side, keeping a clear hybrid schedule is also key to staying organized and collaborating with colleagues effectively.
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13. Encourage them to speak up and express themselves
Team leaders and HR professionals should be the first people your staff goes to when feeling unwell or unhappy about something. Keeping your door, phone line, or Slack window open for them to reach out when needed is essential to support them in achieving work-life balance and other aspects.
Trust and transparent communication are two major elements of a successful work environment. Your workers should feel comfortable discussing any issues they might encounter, whether related to work-life balance or not.
Lastly, welcome your workers’ feedback, get to know their expectations better, and try to find solutions to increase their well-being and boost the workplace experience. This will enhance a positive work atmosphere, making them thrive while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
We truly hope these work-life balance tips for employees help you understand how to support your team members to improve their work-life balance. Feel free to share this work-life balance cheat sheet with them and openly speak about what they miss to reach more balance in their professional and personal lives.
If you are unsure why focusing on your staff’s mental health and well-being is fundamental, we recommend you subscribe to our newsletter and check out previous articles on our blog. We regularly discuss topics related to the role of employee-centricity in making your workforce and your business grow and thrive!
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Paulyne is a hybrid work specialist, who writes about sustainability, flexible work models and employee experience.