Do work more than 12 hours per day? I've got some bad news for you. It's literally killing you and not helping your business.
That's not to say that I don't love what I do. I thoroughly enjoy my work. However, I'm also aware that there has to be a balance between my personal and professional life if I want to remain productive, keep my employees happy, and maintain the health of the business.
Benefits of Work Life Balance
What are the employee benefits of a healthy work life balance? Here's a closer look at those advantages and how they can help maintain the health of your business.
When you and your employees get overwhelmed and burnt out you're going to get less done in the workplace. The reason? The stress and fatigue of burn-out can actually lead to brains that "look exactly like ones that are sound asleep."
Perhaps that's why the Corporate Executive Board, which represents 80% of the Fortune 500 companies, found that employees who believe that they have good work-life balance work 21% harder than those who don't after researching 50,000 global workers.
Interestingly enough, the research also discovered that " boosting workforce productivity does not hinge on employees actually participating in the work-life services offered by their employer. Employees just need to be reassured that the service is there and that they have the option to participate if they want to."
Reduces Staff Turnover and Recruitment Costs
Philadelphia-based global management consulting firm Hay Group conducted a study that discovered that "More than one in four employees at organizations who perceived no support for work/life balance plan to leave their employers within the next two years, compared to 17 percent of employees who feel supported." However, a study by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that 89 percent of HR professionals reported an increase in employee retention simply by launching the implementation of flexible work arrangements..
Why's this important?
The Center For American Progress found that the average cost of employee turnover was 21 percent of an employee's annual salary. As the report states, "it is costly to replace workers because of the productivity losses when someone leaves a job, the costs of hiring and training a new employee, and the slower productivity until the new employee gets up to speed in their new job."
Increases Employee Engagement
Who are your best employees? Hopefully you said it's the employees who are engaged the most with your business. These are the individuals who are the most productive, creative, loyal, and motivated. These same engaged employees take fewer sick days, are less likely to leave, and are willingly to promote your business to others.
If you want to surround yourself with more of these types of employees, then providing a work life balance for them is the best place to start.
Lowers Medical Costs and Absenteeism
Did you know that approximately one-third of workers report high levels of stress? While this can reduce productivity and increase employee turnover, stress is an extremely costly concern for business owners. For example, it's been found that "healthcare expenditures are nearly 50% greater for workers who report high levels of stress." Furthermore, "insurance claims for stress related industrial accidents cost nearly twice as much as non-stress related industrial accidents."
As stated before, heavy stress causes employees to take more sick days than those who are engaged and aren't burnt-out. In fact, Forbes shared findings from workforce solution company Circadian that stated "unscheduled absenteeism costs roughly $3,600 per year for each hourly worker and $2,650 each year for salaried employees."
In short, by having balance between employee's professional and personal lives makes for a happier, healthier, and less stressed workforce since they'll be less likely to get depressed, get sick, and develop serious medical conditions like a stroke or heart attack.
Improves Your Brand Perception
Finally, if your business is known for supporting a work life balance, you'll create a more positive brand perception for yourself as an employer, and a much better perception for your business. Having this type of brand perception can help you attract and recruit top talent in the future. Not only is this good for your business as it pertains to growth, positive perception will also give you an edge over the competition.
Besides creating a more cost-effective and productive workforce, a work life balance gives you the chance to react to changing market conditions that will assist in meeting customer demands - such as seasonal changes in your industry. Your business can stay open longer during the holidays without having employees work longer hours because of shift work, part-time work, or flexitime.
The bottom line? Work life balance can help you increase revenue, cut unnecessary expenses, and improve your organization's reputation.
Tips to Achieve Work Life Balance
Now that we've established why work life balance can keep your employees happy and your business healthy, here's a couple of pointers on how to achieve a work life balance.
Offer Flexible or Alternative Hours
The first place to start when it comes to work life balance is by offering your employees the chance to work flexible hours that meet their personal needs. This boosts morale since employees can schedule their work hours around their personal lives. For example, if you have employees who are also parents, you could allow them to start their workday earlier in the morning, like around 7am. This way they can leave in the early afternoon, around 3pm to pick up their children from school. If you have team members who are night owls, then maybe you would allow them to come into the office at noon and leave at 8pm.
You could also allow for alternative schedules. One example would be to have employees work four 10-hour days and then have three days off. Another example would be to offer everyone work Monday through Thursday for 9-hours, but give the team off every Friday.
Allow Employees to Work From Home
This isn't an option for every industry, but if your employee can work from home every now and then they'll be able to avoid the rush hour headache, figure out child care, or take care of personal matters like visiting the doctor or dentist on those at-home days. Since we live in a constantly connected world - phone, text, email, direct message, Skype - you can still stay in frequent communication with employees.
Though I don't recommend this for full time work, it's nice to offer one day a week that employees can work from home. It's an extra perk that our employees love.
Another bonus? Remote workers are typically more satisfied with their job and are more productive.
Offer More Time Off
On top of sick days and vacation time, you can also provide personal days so that they can attend to private or family needs without getting stressed or penalized. For example, you could still allow new parents to have additional days at home with their new child until they're completely prepared to return to work.
Technology is a blessing and a curse. It's amazing that we can be in constant contact with people whenever or wherever we need to. But, this is also a problem. Just because your employee has a smartphone and can respond essentially at any time doesn't mean that you should be emailing or texting them work-related question or materials when they're not on the clock.
Have a plan that allows workers to complete their tasks before they clock out or wait until the next workday.
Provide Child/Pet Care Options
It's not uncommon for employers to offer employees low-cost child care options in the workplace. This takes away the concern of finding someone to watch their kids while they are away, as well as saving them money. Besides, what parent wouldn't feel at ease knowing that their child is in close proximity?
Even if you're not a parent, you may still have a family member that you hate to leave alone all day. Another perk for businesses is to allow employees to bring in their four-legged friends. This lowers stress, builds trust and friendships among coworkers, and even motivates employees to stay longer since they don't have to worry about their dog.
Organize Family/Employee Events
Even if this is monthly, quarterly, or twice a year, planning events outside of the workplace is one of the best ways to strengthen your team and build excitement for your business. Plan events where employees and their families gather can help build a cohesive unit.