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Work Smarter and Live Better: Tips for Encouraging Work-Life Balance

Published 23rd September 2016 by Thomas Bale

Working better isn’t about working more. Striking the right balance between work and life priorities can make all the difference – for your employees and your business…

It’s no surprise that in the current climate of recruitment freezes, regular pay-cuts and closing businesses, employees feel the need to step up and prove their worth. In our modern world, surrounded by smartphones with the next email lurking just round the corner,  people struggle to differentiate between work and home, job life and personal life, and working hours and time off.

Work-life balance isn’t always something we should work to achieve alone – with the support of an employer, people are likely to manage things (personal and business related) more effectively. Knowing their role, the expectations upon them and the flexibility to cater for working preferences goes a long way.

The Mental Health Foundation highlights the significant danger of the pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture. Exhaustion and stress are common effects of a pressurised work environment and no ‘time-out’ – and most of the time these are ignored and left to worsen…

According to the Office of National Statistics, almost one in two (48.4%) of adults aged 16 and over in Great Britain report a relatively low satisfaction with their work-life balance. As an employer, you can help. Try by providing realistic workloads and expectations, as well as encouraging time out to relax.

Helping your employees find a balance isn’t just about them. It will ring in the changes for you and your organisation too. Empowering team members to achieve a healthy and sustainable work-life balance can increase people’s energy, productivity, clarity and happiness in work and out, in turn boosting organisations’ capability, resilience and productivity.

Manager Tips for Encouraging Better Work-Life Balance

  • Giving employees more control over when they work can improve wellbeing and morale. Think about being flexible, and pick up on working habits. This helps reduce absenteeism and lateness, while improving staff retention.
  • Showing care and support for your people in turn encourages their flexibility, making employees more likely to happily stay late or put in those extra hours during peak times. Think about official time in lieu, or an afternoon off every other Wednesday. Successful work-life balance is all about give and take. 
  • Trusting in technology as a key tool to merge work styles and lifestyles. You could introduce home-working as a way to help desk-based employees maintain a healthy work-life balance.  Facebook CEO and author of family and career-balancing bible Lean In, Sheryl Sandberg leaves the office at 5.30pm to have tea with her two young children – she makes up the time later on her laptop, when the kids are in bed.
  • Providing schemes that help with childcare, and caring responsibilities or incentives that encourage time off to lead an active and fulfilling life.
  • Tailoring your approach and being open to suggestions. Achieving successes at work and in our personal lives is important to everyone; but what success looks like to an individual will be different. Approaches should be flexible enough to encourage fulfilment across the board.

"When you’re facing an avalanche of appointments, book time to spend with your family.  Rather than seeing these two aspects of your life as antagonistic, why not combine them? As I’ve often said, I don’t divide work and play. It’s all living.”
Richard Branson – Virgin Group Founder (Virgin Trains, IIP Gold)