Where organisations used to define the boundaries of employee work-life balance, today, employees are taking on a more decisive role as they bypass companies to define what balance means to them.
Many workplaces that pride themselves on offering work-life balance limit their approach to simply offering flexible work schedules. Today, however, the meaning of work-life balance has broadened. In a work environment that has seen many rapid changes, such as the universal need for hybrid workspaces, people are looking for healthier workplaces more than ever before.
Increasingly, employees believe in the idea of a holistic work environment that affords the opportunity for an open dialogue between employees and employers. This forges a path for them to address their personal lives, careers, and how they can create the life they want.
This is especially true in the UK as employees spend an average of 42 hours per week—the longest working hours out of any European country, but it doesn’t end there. Britons are so pressured by work that an astounding 82% claim that they don’t even take a full lunch break, while 66.6% admit that they have lunch at their workstations.
why is work-life balance important?
The main reason workplaces prioritise work-life balance is to create happier and healthier employees.
Employees who have adequate time for themselves have the ability to:
- Maintain higher energy levels
- Engage in socialising
- Engage in their hobbies
- Be patient
- Get better sleep at night
- Focus and stay sharp
- Carry out their duties with better motivation and satisfaction
Employee work-life balance has benefits for both employees and employers. This balance means that employees don’t need to take as many sick leaves and employee turnover rates can see a marked improvement.
Employee mental health also takes on a more prominent role as employers try to incorporate these services into a list of mandatory requirements that employees can benefit from.
what employers need to watch out for
Employee work-life balance has been gaining traction over the past few years and today, employers need to keep a watchful eye on the many components of work-life balance that could influence whether employees decide to stay or search for greener pastures.
weighing quantity vs. quality
Many organisations—and even managers—determine the value of an employee based on the amount of work they do or how busy they are.
When it comes to roles that require innovation and creativity, moving away from quantitative rules and nine-to-five workdays can prove to be beneficial. The way forward is to allow employees to tailor their day to suit the work they do and their overall energy levels. Let them focus more on the quality of the output rather than on working hours.
If your employees prefer to go for a mid-day run and start working again in the evening because that’s when they’re most productive, let them do it. If employees need to put in more work one week, let them have an easier one the following week. As long as they're doing the work, you should be able to give them the freedom and flexibility to manage their own day.
Younger generations, including Millenials and Gen Z, believe that mental health and physical burnout are far more important than baby boomers and Gen X. They’ve seen their parents and other family members that belong to that generation struggle with burnout and they don’t want to put themselves in that position.
Today, saying ‘no’ to particular tasks that could affect your mental wellbeing is becoming more accepted and workplaces that recognise this are being applauded.
Having a good mental health package is becoming more and more popular where employers can expect reduced absenteeism and attract new talent.
We’re living in an era of creative intelligence, concept development, intelligence, content creation, and overall innovation.
When it comes to the creative world, time and location are becoming less and less important. Many creative individuals don’t like to be forced to sit in the same spot throughout the day. They prefer to have more flexible options that contribute to their creativity.
Similarly, employees in other areas of focus may have different requirements, and employers need to ensure that every employee is working in the optimum conditions that help them meet their needs. A rigid workplace is no longer the way to run a business, especially one that relies on employee work-life balance.
final thoughts on employee work-life balance from Kinhub
Every organisation operates differently and while some of these specific suggestions may not be applicable to your setting, the purpose behind them will not change.
This is why it’s important for employees and employers to have conversations regarding their work-life balance and what both parties can expect from each other. This effort to collect information is what will help you as an employer make sure that work-life balance is part of the workplace culture without the risk of high turnover rates.