Work-life balance is consistently cited as important in employee surveys of job satisfaction. While in the past, employees worked endlessly, seemingly without complaint, today’s employees want more time with their families or to pursue other interests, because they realize that time and life are short. In addition, the concept of the workday and the workplace is changing as well, as businesses realize that their employees can work anytime from anywhere.
Of course, you want your business to be as profitable as possible, with your employees to be as happy and productive as possible. Need some help figuring out how to keep your employees happy and productive? There are several steps you can take to achieve both.
Boundaries Are Important
Many business owners believe that their employees should be available to clients when the clients need them. However, research has shown that this strategy may be wonderful from the client’s perspective, but not so wonderful from the perspective of the employees, who need a break from client management to tend to other matters, such as their families. For that reason, it is important to set boundaries for your clients and your employees. You should have definite hours of business, and make sure clients are aware of business hours.
You can make sure that you or your employees are available during select hours for your clients. One way to do this is by using a CRM system with advanced features like G suite integration that allow clients to email and message you, as well as tracking features within business email. However, setting boundaries means that you or your employees are checking emails and messages only at specific times during evenings and weekends.
Another way to ensure work-life balance is to lower the number of hours employees have to work and instead, encouraging them to work fewer hours more productively. Several companies have reduced their daily work hours from 8 to 5 or 6 and have seen a large rise in productivity. Also, while some employees are big fans of overtime pay, some employers have noticed that the employees who constantly worked overtime were burned out and ineffective at work. Companies have reported drastically limiting overtime unless it is absolutely necessary, which has led to happier employees.
Flexibility Is The Key
Today’s employees need more flexibility in the workplace than ever before. Many employees have both aging parents and children to care for, and they want to be able to effectively do both, which means that employers need to do everything they can to help employees maximize their time from work, wherever and whenever work is on that particular day. Several businesses offer employees the option to work from home certain days of the week if they need to. Employees are also allowed to split their shifts to help with family or to leave early or come in late on days when they are needed at home. All of these perks help to retain employees and reduce employee stress levels.
In some cases, employees can work remotely as often as they need to, because companies have invested in project management tools and business messaging software that allows employees to work collaboratively over the internet. Research has shown that many employees who are allowed to work from home turn in better work that office-bound employees. If you do decide to offer employees the opportunity to work from home, you need to have a daily meeting with your group, either in person or virtually, just to be sure that everyone is on the same page no matter where they are working from.
Celebrate Getting Out of the Office
Employees may see you talking about flexibility of work and how important it is, but they may not believe you until you lead by example. One way that you can do that is schedule office time outside the office. Maybe there is a beautiful atrium in the building your business is in. Or perhaps your local coffee shop has good coffee and good wireless. Studies have shown that when workers get out of the office every once in a while, their productivity improves, so show them you get it, and work outside the office.
In addition, from time to time, you may want to give your employees a half-day of flexibility. In other words, give employees a half-day of work every once in a while as a way to reward productivity and encourage productivity during the half days so work can continue to get completed. These half-days show employees that you trust them and their ability to effectively get work done. When employees know that you trust them, they are more willing to increase their productivity and output because they know it will be rewarding.
Finally, be sure that you are encouraging your employees to take time off, either to get some exercise, which helps productivity, or to take a vacation as part of an overall wellness philosophy that sees vacation time as a necessity, not as a perk.
When you are trying to work towards a work life balance for your employees, it is difficult sometimes to find a path towards balancing the difficult tasks at work and the sometimes difficult tasks at home as well. Many employees, due to the demands of time and family, need more flexibility at work, or they will take their talents elsewhere. A business that is committed to its employees understands the need for more flexibility and is willing to work with its employees to ensure the employee is working as efficiently as possible when they are at work and enjoying their time with family when they are not at work. The very concept of what work looks like is changing, and employers need to be able to change with it. This means offering employees different work times, restricting the number of hours they work, and allowing employees to work from anywhere and at any time during the day. The greater the flexibility you give your employees, the greater the productivity your employees give you in return.