By Lorne Fade, co-founder and COO at VR Vision Inc
Having healthy work-life balance is essential to employees. It prevents burnout and can promote better performance from your team. My development team can sometimes work long hours and get burned out from programming all day, so it helps to have an outlet to let off steam and to provide a variety of options to help improve that work-life balance. Some projects take longer than others and carry tight timelines, so it is not uncommon to have employees staying late some days, which makes having that extra time off to recharge even more important.
Outside of work, it can also be a great idea to host team activities where the entire team gets to participate in some type of “outside work” activity. Things like ping pong, bowling and other types of games and entertainment can not only provide quality team building for your employees, but also help reset the stress of the job and promote a healthy balance.
It can be even more difficult to balance everything when you are an entrepreneur or startup founder, as your time is scarce and you will find yourself having to work extra hours more frequently than others. Some founders have the ability to work from home, which blurs the lines of where to switch off those work-life modes. Knowing just how difficult that is, I have outlined below five tips to encourage better work-life balance from your employees:
Offer paid time off.
Traditionally, time off is offered in the form of sick days, vacation days and personal days. To prove that you had a sick day, you may have had to get a doctor's note to give to a manager. With paid time off, on the other hand, the employee gets to use their time outside of work to do whatever they need or want. You are trusting that your employees know how to use their paid time off in a responsible way.
Do not contact employees during time off.
It can be difficult to truly leave work once you get home. From emails to instant messaging, work may always be on an employee's mind. When someone is taking some time off, allow them to truly enjoy their time away from work. Encourage your employees to tell others that they will have limited contact while on vacation. Do not contact employees taking time off unless there is a workplace emergency.
Model a healthy work-life balance.
When you show your employees what proper work-life balance looks like, in my experience, they will follow your behavior. For example, if you respond to emails and phone calls while on vacation with your family, your employees will think that’s the expectation for them when they take time off as well. Tell your team when you are taking time off and delegate duties to trusted staff members while you are away. Doing so will tell employees that you value your time and will respect theirs as well.
Adopt a flexible schedule system.
There are different ways to implement a flexible system. For example, you can allow employees to start and end work in a flexible time period. The additional flexibility may help employees who need to finish earlier in the day to pick up their children from school but who can start earlier in the day. Another way to use a flexible schedule is to allow telecommuting once or twice a week. Employees who commute from further away will likely appreciate the extra time they save from not driving into work.
Offer recreational activities.
Everyone needs to unwind after a stressful period of work. You can help your employees destress by offering fun activities that include their families. For example, go on a company outing to a local baseball game or rent a few lanes at the local bowling alley. If you are hosting an adults-only event, offer babysitting services for parents. These events will help employees build friendships with their coworkers and appreciate your company even more.
Here at our company, we offer our employees up to an hour a day of offline gaming time. As a technology company, we have all the toys in terms of virtual and augmented reality, so it is encouraged for our team members to take breaks throughout the day to play some light VR games.
Everyone needs time off from work. It helps employees recharge and take care of things outside of the workplace. Having the kind of attitude that fosters creativity is important for businesses and your employees will thank you for it in the long run. Remember to show your employees that you care about them and will respect their time both in and out of the office.
Lorne Fade is co-founder and COO at VR Vision Inc, an immersive technology group that is developing virtual and augmented reality solutions for the future.