We’re fortunate to live in a time when many of us can life to work rather than work to life. Doing so allows us to explore our passions and live purposeful, productive lives built around our talents and values. Of course, not everyone gets to have their dream job, and even those of us who love going to work every day still have a hard time finding a balance between the pulls of the office and the pulls of life outside work.
Work-life balance isn’t something that comes naturally to most people. As a manager or company owner, one of your responsibilities is ensuring that your employees have all of the resources and support that they need to achieve work/life balance so they don’t burn out, can enjoy the work they do, and have the time they need to recharge and live a well-rounded life.
Here are four things that you can do to create a workplace culture that supports work-life balance.
1. Support flexible schedules.
Some employees work best and can be most productive if they can come in around 10:00 and stay until 7:00. Any parent working in your midst might prefer to work from 8:00 until 3:00, be home to meet their kids after school and then handle some phone calls or administrative tasks from home. We’ve all had the 9:00-5:00 forty-hour work week hammered into our heads, but the truth is some employees lose time when asked to be at their desks when their minds and hearts are somewhere else. When employees have flexible schedules and/or more flexibility about where they work, they can often be more productive. And isn’t it what they achieve not what hours they work that matters?
2. Watch for burnout.
If you have an employee who comes in earlier and works later than everyone else, they may be burning the candle on both ends, or having a hard time meeting deadlines, you should ask yourself if they could be on a path to burnout. If an employee seems overwhelmed, take notice and call them into your office. Look for solutions together that can help them get back on track and feel less stressed. They might need more direction on what they need to do, may need outside resources or may simply need support from you to confirm they’re on the right track. Just remember to come into the meeting ready to listen and offer constructive, practical options for moving forward together.
3. Provide tech support.
One of the simplest ways to free up your employee’s time is giving them the tools to do their job more efficiently. Maybe a software upgrade could help, a new printer, scanner or copy machine, a work laptop they can use at home or a new smart phone. Having the right tools to do the job can often reduce busy work and create more time for creative problem solving – and getting home earlier.
4. Stick to office hours.
Whenever possible, avoid sending emails or making requests of employees after official office hours or over the week-end. Always avoid emailing employees on vacation unless you have no other choice. Respecting your employees personal time and giving them opportunities to live full lives outside of work will help them be more energized and motivated when thy come into the office.
In summary, as the boss, you set the standard for work/life balance and in today’s workplace, meeting the needs of your people is the key to meeting your goals as a company!