How do you solve a problem like work / life balance?
It would be an understatement to say that the topic of wellness has grown in popularity in recent years. Encapsulating everything from superfood-charged smoothies to bath bombs and yoga mats, the wellness industry has transformed the retail landscape and is now worth up to £2.8 trillion worldwide* with Brits on schedule to spend £487 per head annually on “wellness” by 2022**.
This rising preoccupation with “self-care” has spurred a change to not only how Brits eat, travel and unwind but also how we view employment.
A recent study shows that UK employers are now more likely to freelance than European’s***, happy to sacrifice a higher salary for increased happiness and go it alone if their employer does not put in the necessary effort to maintain a healthy medium between work and life. 47% of UK workers would also consider taking on a temporary, interim position if it meant a better lifestyle****.
If you want the best employees on your team, can you really afford to ignore the topic of work/life balance?
The term work/life balance refers to the amount of time one invests into each area of their life; placing too much time and energy into one area at the expense of another will lead to feelings of stress, anxiety and guilt. This often leads to over-exhaustion illness and burn out, with a negative impact on your self-esteem and personal relationships.
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance has many benefits:
- Improved health and well being
- Higher productivity
- Greater enjoyment in your job
- Stronger relationships
- Enhanced personal development
- Greater success in achieving goals
- The term work/life balance gets bandied around a lot. But what does it actually mean?
For a company, having team members with a healthy work/life balance can mean:
- Greater productivity
- A more connected and social team
- Lower turnover
- Less absenteeism
It’s impossible to take a one size fits all approach to improving work/life balance, as one’s ideal work-life balance will depend on their career goals, life stage, and family or social commitments, and will likely change over time.
Top talent know their worth and aren’t afraid to fly the nest if they feel your company culture is playing havoc with their mental health.
Therefore to attract them to your company (and more importantly retain them), consideration must be paid to improving employee wellbeing. If you’re unsure about how to go about it look for guidance from employees in the form of regular meetings and real-time feedback programmes that can offer insight into what areas need improvement. These tips are a great place to start:
1. Stay away from micro-management
Feeling as though you’re constantly being watched by your superiors can heighten an employee’s anxiety, lead to feelings of distrust and cause a chasm within the junior and senior members of your team. So instead, aim for a culture where everybody knows their role and can do it independent of helicopter management. You may have to invest in training for bosses, but the benefits are likely to be recompensing.
2. Offer Flexible working
We’re big advocates of flexi-work here at Gabriele and can attest that allowing your team to work from wherever is convenient for them is a great way to build trust and improve employee morale. Adopting a WFH option requires careful planning as it may not work for every company, nor employee, but it is a cornerstone of work balance so is worth considering.
3. Switch off and encourage the same
It’s important to respect the balance and privacy of employees outside of office hours. When you’re passionate about your job it’s very easy to let it trickle into your personal life, but that’s when the problem’s start.
The change starts from the top; don’t tell staff not to check their emails during evenings and weekends whilst simultaneously sending them mail at 10 o clock at night. Most people have their work emails connected to their phones so they’re still going to see it and it's still likely to increase pressure and encourage them to mirror your unhealthy behaviour. Unless it’s life-threatening keep contact solely within designated work hours to allow everyone to switch off and fully recharge.
Also, for the love of God stay away from WhatsApp.
* Global Wellness Institute, 2018
** GlobalData, 2019
*** ADP UK Workforce View, 2019 via Jones, R. 2019. UK Employees More Likely to Freelance than Europeans. Recruitment Buzz
*** Powny, Mark. 2019. Work-life Balance Drives Spike in Contracting for UK Employees this Summer, Recruitment Buzz