Be a Leader When You Promote a Work-Life Balance

Orbitz, National Instruments, Scottrade, Yahoo!, Chevron—what do all of these diverse companies have in common?

A dedication to fostering a work-life balance for their employees.

These are some of the companies recognized by Glassdoor.com for being in the top 25 corporations in terms of creating a work-life balance.

Promoting work life balance cab foster productivity

Promoting work life balance cab foster productivity

Work-life balance is something we hear a lot about, and it’s one of those elusive terms that becomes difficult to define because it means something different to everyone. For example, a working mom may find work-life balance means that she’s able to attend her children’s after school activities and sports practices, while for a single person just starting their career, work-life balance might mean having the time to pursue hobbies or maintain a social life.

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Regardless of how individuals measure what work-life balance means to them, there are often some factors that are common among varying groups of employees. Some of these factors include shorter work weeks, telecommuting options and on-the-job amenities.

When you create a workplace where maintaining a work-life balance is central to your corporate culture and identity, it’s not just beneficial for employees. Employers are increasingly finding it helps employees remain more engaged, productive and loyal, and employees also tend to be more satisfied in their jobs in general, leading to a safer, more efficient workplace, where there’s less turnover. Employees also tend to miss less days of work in a company where work-life balance is important.

Here are some simple steps to take toward a more balanced workplace:

  1. Create situations where telecommuting is possible. With today’s technology, it’s becoming increasingly simplified for employees to telecommute, at least for a portion of their work week. As a result, they’re often getting more work done because they’re spending less time driving, and they’re able to be more flexible in their overall scheduling. If you’re concerned telecommuting could spell disaster, it’s certainly still possible to ensure your employees are working during the hours you define, with the use of tools like Skype.
  2. Be clear with your expectations and define priorities in the workplace. Employees often feel overworked and stressed out because they’re spinning their wheels on a variety of tasks, and they’re unsure of what’s most important to their leaders. Help eliminate needless frustration and increase efficiency by being very clear with expectations and priorities.
  3. Clearly define limitations for contact outside of the traditional work day. If your employees have vacation time or are leaving for maternity leave, you should encourage them to set boundaries for contact, whether by phone, text or email. It’s also a good idea to have a company policy in place for when work emails should end for the day. This shows you’re taking seriously your employees’ work-life balance and that you’re willing to put in place restrictions that will help them achieve a good balance.
  4. If you’re attempting to promote more balance amongst your employees, why not ask for their input? You can conduct regular surveys or assessments to see what the needs are of your employees, and how more balance can be achieved. This will not only help you find where issues may exist, but will also show you’re concerned and respect your employees, which tends to improve their level of engagement.
  5. It may be okay to have employees work longer days, if they can take a longer weekend. Many employees report being more satisfied working longer shifts, but then having a three-day weekend every week. Experiment with different work day and work week styles to see what works best for your employees, but also your organization.

Work-life balance doesn’t have to be an abstract term, and if you’re looking for a more successful, productive workplace, focusing on helping employees achieve this balance may mean big rewards for your company.

September 12, 2014   Updated :March 16, 2015   work balance, work-life   

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