Work Life Balance
American employers increasingly need to support healthy work-life balance among their employees. Beyond the mountain of evidence that an overworked, overstressed employee is less productive and more likely to quit, there is also a growing trend among job candidates to assess a company based on the work-life balance it supports. But how can you achieve this elusive balance inside your company?
Flex the clock
Flexible work schedules have become a core component of work-life balance initiatives, and a highly valued practice among today’s workers. More companies are offering compressed work weeks, job-sharing, shift-swapping, telecommuting, and time off for family needs or volunteer work. Many companies have replaced vacation and sick time with a bank of paid time off (PTO). The practice gives employees greater freedom to manage their time. By limiting the amount of PTO that can be carried over from one year to the next, employers also ensure that individuals take sufficient time off to be rested and remain productive.
Some companies have taken flex time to new levels. For example, one accounting firm realized that many employees’ work was heavily concentrated around tax season. So, the firm offered those employees the option to work a compressed, 11-month year.
Improve time management
Mike Steinerd, Director of Recruiting at Indeed, stressed that good time management is vital to achieving balance. “Work-life balance is often dependent on efficiency and professionalism,” he said. “When management and employees are dedicated to their jobs and work hard during business hours, it gives them the flexibility to maintain a healthy personal life.”
Many companies fuel that efficiency by offering time-management training, streamlining business processes, avoiding extended or unproductive meetings, and even declaring periodic ‘no meeting’ days. When S.C. Johnson tested the concept of no-meeting days, two-thirds of participants said their productivity rose on those days and 16% said their work hours also decreased.
Despite all the pressures facing companies today, it is possible to foster healthy work-life balance—and the benefits to the company can be impressive. After all, a contented, motivated, productive worker is key to all of our success.
Written by Alan J. Kaplan, Founder & CEO, Kaplan Partners, August 2015