In today’s competitive work environment, perspective employees expect a balanced work /life schedule. Many surveys rank work/life balance benefits as more important than rate of pay. In my previous career as a golf course manager work/life balance did not exist. Even in 2017 the golf industry still has not changed while other industries have made great strides towards creating work/life balance policies that not only benefit the employee but offers great bottom line benefits for business owners.
There are many different techniques to improve work/life balance in your office. The keys to success is to involve all employees in the decision making process of what is best for your office. Doing this will give employees a feeling of belonging, a sense of control of their work life. One of the easiest ways to improve work/life balance is to offer a flexible schedule. Offering a flexible schedule allows more freedom in getting kids to school, doctor’s appointments, or going to the gym. According to Susan Healthfield of the website The Balance “A flexible schedule does not mean employees can come and go at will.” Four day work weeks and telecommuting can be part of the flexible schedule conversation. My wife currently works on an every other Friday off schedule. Having two 3 day weekends a month is a great benefit without having to use vacation time. We have already planned trips for the summer around those 3 day weekends.
Another great way to improve work/life balance is to restrict an employee’s ability to carry over paid time off to the next calendar year. While this may seem counter intuitive the goal is to have employees actual take time off, recharge their batteries and feel excited about coming to work. This policy will only work if upper management follows it as well. The health benefits of time off from work have been proven time and time again. Your Vacation is a paid benefit offered by your company
Along with taking time off, unplugging your devices is a key work/life balance policy. I admit to having a hard time with this. As a small business owner it is difficult to be away from the office. I find myself many times checking email and voice mail while our family is on vacation. This is not time off, just work time in a different location. Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of Consumer Electronics writes” labor union and employers in France recently agreed on principles that could eliminate email and smart phone use outside of a 13- hour work window that defines the work day” A policy that allows employees to unplug from work is very important.
A great way for employers to help with employees’ ability to actually be on vacation is to not email them. Many times the email can wait until they are back in the office. The only time an employer should contact an employee while on vacation is in case of emergency. When contacting a person after hours or when they are on vacation respect their time. Gary Shapiro writes” calling or texting a person’s cell phone is urgent. Emailing them is not urgent.” Reward your employees who have taken time away from their vacation time with extra time off at a later date.
Other work/life balance benefits a company can offer employees is to sponsor employee and family events on a regular basis. These events can encourage team building and friendships among employees. These events do not have to be lavish or expensive. The list of activities and events is endless. Creating and implementing work/life policies are not easy. The long term benefit of good work/life balance is the ability to attract the best employees who will work harder, stay in your company longer and create a better bottom line for business owners.