The US Congress designated October as National Work and Family Month to remind employers to consider employees’ family needs when making business decisions.
When your staff is stressed out about family issues, work performance will likely suffer.
So encouraging a healthy balance of work and life can increase productivity. It also reduces turnover and increases employers’ gain on the investment they make in hiring and training staff.
How can employers accomplish good work/life balance in their businesses?
Tuning in to your employees’ needs is important to maintaining a happier work place for everyone. Look for cues of discontent and listen when your employees are expressing their needs.
Don’t meddle into your workers’ personal lives. Do offer concrete solutions to employees’ family life challenges. If one staff member is experiencing trouble with a day care provider, or another wants to accompany his mother to a doctor’s appointment, help them find ways to get these needs met.
Improve your staff’s physical health and your business will benefit, too. Healthy employees have lower levels of stress, illness and injuries, miss fewer days of work, and are more productive. Encourage wellness with company-wide gym memberships, by installing bicycle racks, and awarding employees for walking or biking to work.
Try flex schedules, such as position sharing and work-from-home options. If you have two employees who want to work fewer hours, perhaps there is a full-time job they can share. Do you have employees who could work from home a day per week or month? Just reducing those employees’ commutes can add valuable hours to their home lives.
Encourage employees to go for a walk on breaks and lunch hours. Fresh air and movement can make a huge difference in a worker’s day. Don’t require employees to stay onsite for lunch. Getting away is healthy, and could help employees keep their lives in order by allowing them to run errands.
It’s up to both sides of the employment equation to keep things healthy: employers should be creative in helping staff members achieve a healthy work/life balance, and employees should communicate their needs and take advantage of their employers’ attempts to help.