Maintaining a balance between work life and home life is key for employees.
“When an employee has things working at home, then things are going to work at work,” explains Laurie Lulg, a human resources manager for LJB Inc., a Dayton-based engineering firm.
In fact, having a good work-life balance came in second place as the most important workplace attribute (after compensation), according to the Corporate Executive Board of WorkDynamics, who surveyed over 50,000 global workers. The study also showed that those who have a good work-life balance work 21 percent harder than those who don’t.
So how can you promote an appropriate balance between your employee’s work life, while still allowing them to balance a hectic home life? Here are some ideas:
It’s important to allow employees the opportunity to get what they need done in their personal life. For example, allowing them to leave the office for their child’s doctor’s appointments, and having them make up the time, say, in the evening.
“Supporting what is important to the person does create a lot of loyalty with our employees. Some professionals find that because of the trust instilled in this circumstance, the employee is more inclined to get their work done and done well,” says Mary Beth McWright, director of human resources for Booz Allen Hamilton, a Virginia-based defense contractor. “They tend to work a lot harder than they would if we didn’t allow that flexibility. As long as you are getting your work done, it really doesn’t matter where you are getting your work done.”
Offer telecommuting/work from home opportunities
In the same sense, an employee may have a situation in their personal life regarding a doctor’s appointment, a sick child or car trouble that impacts their ability to get to the office. Allowing the employee to work from home on days when they can’t get to the office shows the employee that they work for a caring company, and actually increases productivity.
In an internal study at the Chinese travel website Ctrip, people working from home completed 13.5 percent more calls than the staff who were in the office did. In addition, the people who worked from home, compared with those who didn’t, were happier as a whole and less likely to quit their job.
Push forward the start time
While some people are early birds and are able to have productive mornings, not everyone works that way. It may be feasible to permit employees to start the workday a bit later (and then completing the workday by staying the full eight hours from their start point). Research shows that workers who are sleep deprived may not be working to their fullest potential.
“The evidence that time spent working was the most prominent sleep thief was overwhelming,” said one study’s lead author, Dr. Mathias Basner, assistant professor of sleep and chronobiology in psychiatry. “Potential intervention strategies to decrease the prevalence of chronic sleep loss in the population include greater flexibility in morning work and class start times, reducing the prevalence of multiple jobs, and shortening morning and evening commute times.”
Provide an onsite gym
If possible, allowing employees the opportunity to exercise during the workday gives them the chance to work on their health — something they may not be able to do when combined with commuting and a busy home life. In general, office jobs mean the employee is sitting most of the day, which can lead to health problems such as weight gain. It can also lead to restlessness, which working out can help with. Having an onsite gym encourages workers to maintain their health, which in turn allows them to feel better about themselves, as well as the work they’re accomplishing. Another related option is offering reimbursement or discounted gym memberships to their local gym or health club.
Provide onsite childcare
Having a childcare facility at the office would be a dream come true to mothers and fathers who have far commutes, or don’t have someone to watch their child on a daily basis. And getting to check in with their child on breaks would help them stay connected, providing a great work-life balance to any parent.
A happy employee normally translates to a productive employee, so help ensure your employees strike the right balance.