Work-life balance – we hear about it, we talk about it, and we try to make it happen. And though it isn’t always easy to achieve, most employers are aware of the importance of encouraging that balance. After all, the costs associated with overworked and burnt out employees can be significant! Stressed-out employees are often less productive, less engaged, and more likely to call in sick than those with more balanced lives. Especially this time of year, as many employees attempt to balance work demands with summer holidays and children who are out of school for the summer, the extra stress of balancing family and work needs can have a big impact.
The solution? Finding ways to encourage work-life balance to help maintain and support a healthy work environment. When employees have balance between their personal and work responsibilities, stress levels go down and job satisfaction goes up – a win-win situation for all! Helping employees find this balance doesn’t have to be complicated or stressful. Spontaneous or “easy wins” can have a big impact, by giving employees a breather when they least expect it!
Summer can be the perfect time for this. Maybe it’s spontaneously telling employees at 2:30 on a Friday to go home early and enjoy the weekend with their family. You could inject some humour by sending a funny email something like “due to the bad weather over the island of Fiji, we are closing down the office so that everyone can get home safe and sound, so pack up your stuff and head home.” Being spontaneous is one way to create a sense of “I thought about you today and this is what I decided to do to acknowledge you.”
For a busy accounting firm whose employees work hard and put in a ton of extra hours during tax season, a great way to recognize them may be to give them Friday (or Friday afternoons) off in the summer to balance things out. Alternatively, if you’re a tourist shop and summer is your busy season, you might want to close down early on a long weekend in the winter so that people get an extra-long weekend to spend more time with family (think Family Day in February).
If you’re not able to have everyone leave every Friday, or spontaneity may not work for your business, set a schedule so that one group leaves early one Friday, and another group the next Friday. This allows you to recognize employees with some well-deserved time off while still balancing the needs of your business. You could also just let people know that you want to give them a day off and they can decide what day works for them, because really that’s the epitome of work-life balance – when you’re able to be flexible and make it work on a day that works best for them.
It may cost a couple hours of pay for each employee, but employees will come back feeling refreshed and appreciative that you thought of them and care about their need for work-life balance. Employees will be more productive during their time at work for you, and are more likely to stick with you for the long haul!
Your Engaged HR Assignment:
Is there a day that you can spontaneously choose to send employees home early for an afternoon? Or does it make sense to set a schedule and give people some options as to what they want? What works for your business? Get creative and keep it simple!