Work-Life Balance: A Key Ingredient for Employee Engagement and Retention

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Balance is important in every area of life, and professional life is no exception. If one wants to function normally and live relatively stress-free, as well as excel in different fields, one needs balance.

This is why every person on earth is on the lookout for a well-balanced life that includes time for personal pursuits as well as work.

In the world of business, work-life balance is therefore a key ingredient for employee engagement and retention. 

What is work-life balance?

Work-life balance is a measure of much time you spend on your professional life (work) vs. how much time you spend on your personal life, such as friends, family, leisure, and hobbies.

Simply put, work-life balance is an arrangement that allows both the professional and personal to operate together without conflict. The concept was coined in the 1970s and ever since, companies see it as a metric for their employee wellness.

But, how present is this life-work balance in the business world, really? 

The answer is very little. Even today, 94% of employees spend over 50 hours working every week. This makes them overwhelmed and tired and ruins their chances of finding a balance.

When asked about it, 66% of workers said that they feel like they lack this balance. Even companies admit that they do little to promote it. According to Deloitte, only 23% of companies believe they promote good life and work balance. 

The results are eye-opening. A person who doesn’t find this balance is unhappy with their work and very likely to leave the company. Their motivation and engagement drop.

This is what this post is all about – to give you valuable tips on how to promote work-life balance in your organization. 

Improving work-life balance in the workplace: how to do it

There are 3 things you need to make your business thrive under a life-work balance system:

  1. The right tools
  2. The right techniques
  3. The right employees

There are many steps you can take to improve employees’ work-life balance.

Let us take you through the ones that will help you get all three pieces of the puzzle.

1. Use employee recognition software to streamline meetings and assessments

When you’re managing a team, you need to keep track of everyone’s performance, but that’s not all. You need to assess their performance in addition to their work hours. You need to talk to your team to gain insight into what they are doing and what they think needs to be done. 

In a good business, the voice of employees is heard and recognized. One way to stay on top of this is to use an employee recognition software. You can use customizable templates for successful 1:1 or team meetings, and customize engagement surveys to build connections with your team

Either way, it’s a good idea to get continuous feedback from your team, which you can then use to improve things like workplace culture, workflows, and communication.

Example employee recognition software: Leapsome.

2. Optimize employees’ time with proper parking management

This might seem like a strange thing to prioritize but these days, parking is a cause for stress for many employees. Unless your company has regulated, organized parking that’s close to the office, it’s worth thinking about how to improve your team’s parking experience.

People commute to work every day. They spend hours traveling back and forth. Add the long time it takes to find parking and get to their office, and these people are already losing hours without being paid for it. 

Wayleadr came up with an ultimate guide that shows you how to manage employee parking lots and to navigate your way through car parking technology. Some of the advantages to automating and optimizing parking include:

  • Spots are assigned instantly and employees don’t need to roam around to search for a spot
  • Automated management ensures that all empty spaces are accessible. This increases the availability by 40%

When your employees have this issue handled for them, they’ll be less stressed coming into the office. You can avoid unnecessary conflicts and give your team some extra time to spend with their family, which they’ll appreciate.

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Optimizing parking is one way to improve work-life balance for your employees that you may not have thought of before.

3. Consider offering a compressed workweek

The nine-to-five work hours and the five-day work week are slowly becoming a thing of the past. This is even more emphasized since the pandemic.

Today, many organizations are straying from the 8-hour workday in favor of different schedules.

Take, for instance, Dolby. The company gives many of its employees every other Friday off. While you might not be able to cut down their work hours, compressing them into 4 days instead of 5 will give your team a chance to enjoy one more day off with their family and friends.

(Just be sure your business is abiding by any applicable labor laws!)

The extra day at home gives employees more time to relax, address their personal tasks, and travel, all of which can increase their engagement and productivity. It also saves them money otherwise spent on commuting including public transportation or fuel costs. 

4. Find time management training opportunities

In some cases, even if you assign a reasonable amount of work, employees will struggle with it. One reason for this is poor time management and lack of prioritization.

Thankfully, task prioritization can be taught. If you find that your employees suffer from burnout and cannot keep up no matter how much you reduce their workload, you might want to offer them some training. 

One of the best ways to promote a healthier work-life balance is to teach your team about it.

By offering them training opportunities, you can teach them how to manage their time and tasks and eliminate work-related stress when they get back home. 

If you notice increased error rates, absenteeism, and lack of interest among your team, look at yourself first. Make sure you’re setting reasonable expectations and keeping the lines of communication open.

Check if the employee is overburdened or overwhelmed. If this is not the case, talk to them. Offer them training and help them learn how to prioritize and organize their time. 

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5. Lead and teach by example

Even if you give your team incredible benefits such as flexible PTO, days off, and rewards, they might fail to use them properly. Take, for instance, being on vacation.

When you’re on vacation, do you keep emailing or calling your team to see what they are doing?

If you’re doing this, you’re giving your employee the message that they should also care about work while on vacation. They’ll try to show their dedication to the company by doing so and destroy the life-work balance in the process.

So, be an example of what a good life-work balance should look like.

One creative approach to specifying meal prep and ensuring employees eat healthily throughout their busy schedules is collaborating with services at Factor that offer fresh, never-frozen meals designed by dietitians.

Here are a few ways to do this:

  • Take your lunch breaks every day
  • Use those well-being programs you’re offering your team
  • Switch off when you’re on vacation
  • Make it clear that no one should answer work-related calls and messages after work is over
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6. Create more flexible working hour policies

Not everyone works best early in the morning. Some people need breaks more regularly than others.

If you want to make sure that your employee works productively, give them some freedom in choosing the hours they feel more productive. This should keep them happy with the work and boost employee retention for your business. 

While you can offer them some flexibility, don’t encourage working during their time off. Be sure to show your team that they should honor their time off when the work hours are done.

Whether it is during PTOs, on weekends, or in the evenings, employees shouldn’t feel that it’s necessary to send emails or messages. 

TIP: If you’re in a business that relies on shift work, you can build in some flexibility by allowing shift swaps.

7. Increase support for parents

The people who struggle most with finding a work-life balance are those who have a very busy life at home, and many obligations. These are the parents.

Parents struggle all the time with finding a balance because they care for themselves and their children. 

While you should offer support to everyone on your team, make sure that you offer benefits to support parents and caregivers specifically. This will make your company a more desirable place to work, and make the lives of parents less stressful.

For instance, Asana offers 16 weeks of paid parental leave. You can offer equal maternity and paternity benefits or even shared parental leave. You can boost the medical coverage, build an onsite daycare, and help your employees with childcare costs like school fees. 

In return, you’ll find that the employees will be more focused on their work, less burned out, and more productive. 

Have you been promoting work-life balance in your company?

Take a minute to look through the 7 tips above. How many of them has your company taken to promote work-life balance? If you skipped a few, consider making some changes to boost productivity and increase employee engagement in the office. 

About the Author:

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Nadica Metuleva is a senior freelance writer with 8+ years of experience in producing original, high-quality content for clients. She has a Master’s degree in English Literature and Teaching and speaks 4 languages. Nadica has a passion for storytelling and a deep understanding of SEO principles. You can find her samples and more details about her work on LinkedIn

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