Most of us understand that work-life balance is an important aspect of a healthy work environment. But now, more than ever, we need to openly discuss what work-life balance really is, what it means for different people, and the best strategies for obtaining it.
What is Work-Life Balance?
Let’s start with the basics. Work-life balance can be described as a state of equilibrium. It’s the equal prioritization of personal and professional demands. When work-life balance is off, the two states tend to bleed together, and people find themselves focusing on job demands when they should be present in the home. Whether it’s a busy parent attempting to help their kids with remote learning while also taking business calls or finding yourself answering work emails in the middle of the night, many people have found themselves pulled in unhealthy directions.
Why it’s Important
There are endless studies emphasizing the important role that work-life balance plays in one’s life. One of the most obvious reasons for this is the improvement in relationships, both at home and in the office. But it also boosts productivity and performance in both situations because the person is able to fully engage with their responsibilities. There is also significant research that shows a successful work/life balance improves physical health, preventing everything from the flu to heart problems. Employees that have the time and space to practice mindfulness will be able to reduce stress and prevent burnout by being able to focus on the task at hand. No matter their work style, flexibility gives employees the autonomy they need to function best. After all, not everyone operates the same way nor are any two home lives the same. Whether they’re Baby Boomers, Gen Zers fresh from college, or anywhere in between, everyone appreciates a flexible schedule.
How Organizations Can Achieve Work-Life Balance
1. Autonomy & Flexibility
In order for team members to achieve a sense of work-life balance, employers need to provide them with a sense of autonomy. According to a survey of 3,500 employees conducted by Sage, 81% of respondents placed importance and value on flexible working, because they want to be trusted to manage when, where and how they work.
For employees that do come to a physical workplace, providing onsite amenities, ranging from gym and meditation facilities to healthy foods, are amazing resources for teams. Exercise and a healthy lifestyle are essential for alleviating stress, and many team members rely on these perks to maintain their well-being, especially when they are taking the time to commute to an office.
3. (Really Good) Benefits
Another important factor in achieving work-life balance is providing extraordinary benefits – not just the standard offerings. It’s no secret that health insurance is incredibly expensive, as is childcare. Company paid services like these, as well as tuition assistance and longer paid maternity and paternity leaves, serve as important indicators of how companies value their team members while also contributing to a healthy work-life balance.
4. People and Culture
Additionally, we have to remember that the people you hire create your company’s environment. That’s why it’s so important that team members are a good fit for the culture and type of company that you want to build and grow. Naturally, this means some existing employees who demonstrate toxic behaviors might need to be let go. While making these choices is tough, they’re extremely necessary if you want to cultivate an environment where people can thrive.
5. Lead by Example
The way those in leadership and managerial roles lead their organization is a direct indicator of work/life balance too. Through leading by example and demonstrating a strong sense of empathy and practicing a healthy work-life balance themselves, team members will understand the type of culture you promote and support in your workplace. This allows them to go forward and practice those same principles in all their affairs, and in turn hopefully find a healthy work-life balance for themselves.
By coming together and finding ways to support work-life balance for your organization, you’re able to dedicate your focus on your company’s bright future and with limited employee turnover along the way.
Portions of this article originally appeared on the CRESA website.
The Sundance Company
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