06 Mar In Search of the Work-Life Balance…An Employer’s Guide
Work. We spend the majority of our waking hours there for 40-odd years of our lives, and yet the concept seems so foreign from any real enjoyment for so many of us. From an employer’s point of view, creating a work culture that staff enjoy being part of is surely better in the long-run in terms of staff retention, quality of work and the overall energy in the office, and yet so many ignore the small changes they can make to create a more pleasant working environment for their employees.
Now, more than ever before, we hear the term ‘work life balance’ being used more frequently, and some employers seem to have received the memo! If you’re an employer or a people manager, this article is filled with suggestions on how to bring more ‘life’ into the work side of things. From injecting a little bit of fun with workplace competitions and novelty trophies to more serious and long-term changes like creating a more flexible work schedule, we’ve got five tips to help you achieve that elusive but not impossible ‘work life balance’ for your employees.
Flexibility is one of the key factors when it comes to reasons staff choose to stay with or leave an organisation. Much as we try to make them, sometimes our commitments and lives don’t fit into the neat little 9-5 holes we try to squeeze them into, so for the modern employee flexibility in terms of hours is one of the biggest draw-card–on par with a good pay-packet! As an employer, being flexible doesn’t have to mean being ‘too lenient’–there are benefits in it for you, too. Productivity, staff retention and work atmosphere are all boosted with employees feel they are valued, so try applying some yoga move to your office structure (get it?) and get flexible!
As we’ve mentioned before, team building exercises can be fun, or they can be completely cringe-worthy. The key is to foster a team environment with staff without ramming it down their throats. Organise fun, light-hearted activities such as bowling or trivia nights, a fun-run team, a lunchtime training group or another kind of activity that allows employees to become involved in something other than work with their teammates. You’ll find that creating better relationships internally will affect the output of your staff considerably. Better lines of communication will open up and you’ll start to see a marked improvement in the office energy!
Who said that work and fun were mutually exclusive concepts? There seems to be this preconceived notion that the minute you allow a bit of light-hearted fun in the workplace, you’ve given over all control and respect as an employer and will henceforth never be able to get an ounce of efficiency out of your team again. It’s surprising that this is the prevailing school of thought on the subject, as almost every employee satisfaction survey ever given has shown that employees who enjoy their time at work are more likely to work harder and be more accommodating. Many offices are starting to implement internal competitions where once a month employees compete in all manner of activities for corporate awards or silly perks like having the boss’s office for a week. A little bit of fun can go a long way in a workplace, so if you’re in charge, why not see how it can benefit your staff?