16 ideas for improving work-life balance and wellbeing at work

According to our Wellbeing at Work survey over a quarter (29%) of those in full-time employment in the UK are unhappy in their job.

More than one in five workers (23%) ‘pulled a sickie’ in the last year, and 6% did so more than five times. So here are some of the best ways to give people a healthy work-life balance and improve their wellbeing:

1. Get to know your workplace

Discover what the culture is like in your organisation. Get to grips with the attitudes and support available to your people, particularly from their line managers.

2. Talk to your people

What would help your people balance their career success with a positive personal life? Collect information through team feedback, surveys, focus groups and interviews.

3. Work fewer days, get more done

Why not consolidate normal full-time hours worked over four days, instead of five? Or spread the contractual requirements across the whole year – allowing for more hours in busier periods and more time off during quieter months.

4. Job-sharing and term-time contracts

Divide the responsibilities of one job between two people or introduce term-time only contracts to attract skilled parents who need to care for their children during school holidays periods.

5. Flexitime

Flexible working is on the increase. Offer people the chance to work core hours and the responsibility and freedom to manage their workload outside of these hours. This goes a long way towards helping them to balance their private and personal life.

6. Working from home

Let people work wholly or partially from home in order to manage their work and home commitments.

7. Childcare assistance

Offer people childcare vouchers to make it easier to manage work and family commitments. Or provide a creche at work to reduce stress and time commitments for your people.

8. Employee assistance programmes

Offer access to stress counselling, work-life balance hints and tips, access to concierge services or advice on anything from finding schools to setting up dependent care.

9. Improve maternity care

Attract skilled female workers to your company by offering even more maternity cover than required by law, including higher pay whilst on leave, extended leave options and returner bonuses.

10. Provide occupational health facilities

Introduce health checks and provide advice on health issues. This could be in-house or through a local provider.

11. Integrate work-life balance into company culture

It’s time to take work-life balance seriously and integrate it into your company culture. A better work-life balance benefits both individuals and the company. And It sends out the right message to your senior team, board, partners and investors.

12. Get managers on board

Flexible working can really boost a team’s effectiveness. So make sure managers are trained to introduce positive changes within their teams – they’ll need counselling, decision-making, evaluating, mentoring and communication skills.

13. Communicate your wellbeing strategy

You’ve spent time and effort developing solutions that meet the needs of your people – so make sure they know all about the great new resources and initiatives they’re entitled to.

14. Keep it consistent, but personal

Everyone from the workers on the shop floor to the management team (and even the CEO!) should have the same access to a personalised plan to balance their work and personal lives. That doesn’t mean everyone’s solution is the same. So take care to listen to individuals’ unique needs.

15. Walk the walk

Make sure everyone is striving for a healthy work-life balance. If people stay in the office until 8pm every evening, they aren’t setting a great example for others to follow.

16. Build support

Plan flexible working so the team as a whole are not disadvantaged. Offer an open door for discussions of concerns and problems. Work-life balance options should be for everyone, not just the prerogative of some groups.

And in the end

If all else fails just remember to treat people like people.

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