As we continue on this month’s theme of employee well-being, an important topic that must be included is work-life balance. Long gone are the days of one person working and one taking care of the home, so that the working partner has no outside conflicts or family obligations. Even if this is the case for a worker, there are still going to be outside life forces that need to be taken into consideration for the long-term wellbeing of the employee. So how can companies address these needs, and how will doing so ultimately benefit the business?
Employees with a good work-life balance are more efficient, productive and motivated. However, the current state of work-life balance is troubling. According to a study by Mental Health America:
A survey by the Mental Health Foundation confirms these findings. They noted:
The MHF survey also found that as weekly hours increase, so do feelings of unhappiness. In addition, the more hours employees spend at work, the more hours outside of work they are likely to spend thinking or worrying about it.
There are many ways businesses can help employees achieve a better work-life balance. Some examples are:
It’s worth noting that a one-size-fits-all approach to work-life balance is unlikely to be suitable. An employee dealing with elder care issues has very different needs than a Gen Z worker that wants more time to travel or to go back to school.
You also want to check that the level of satisfaction with the health and wellness benefits you are providing is aligned with what your employees want and need. Conduct an anonymous survey to understand what issues workers need support on, whether it's balancing work with family obligations, identifying the signs of burnout, creating a safe and healthy work environment at home, or ways to feel less alone.
Ultimately the efforts a company goes through to help employees achieve work-life balance will come back to benefit them. An ACAS report (www.acas.org.uk) on flexible working and work-life balance showed how a poor balance can lead to absence, low productivity and stress. But when balance is achieved, benefits can include:
Employee work-life balance programs can be manageable and cost-effective, and result in a more engaged and energized workforce. If employees know that their company supports their aspirations and obligations outside of the workplace, they are motivated to work harder and have more loyalty than to a company that ignores their needs. These programs and policies also need to be modeled from the top. If employees see managers and senior officers exhibiting healthy work-life balance practices and using the company programs provided, they will be more likely to take advantage of the work-life benefits offered to them.
By Ann Condon, Marketing Manager
Ann Condon has been with Dion for 17 years, working in Dion’s Marketing and Business Development Department. Although this was her first position with a jewelry manufacturer, she has learned a lot over the years. Ann enjoys getting involved in “All Things Dion” from volunteering at the Dion Golf Tournament to being a part of the Dion Diamonds Relay for Life Team. She has quite a number of Dion event t-shirts to show for it!
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