Maintaining a healthy work life balance is essential to good health and sustainable productivity. Employees in today’s world of work are prone to working long hours. This is typically due to workplace pressure, increased work responsibilities, and a drive to succeed in their careers.
Research shows maintaining a healthy work life balance is best for businesses and employees. Yet, many people struggle to find that perfect balance, which can lead to absenteeism in their personal lives.
What is work life balance?
Work life balance is a state where employees prioritize their personal needs and career demands equally. It does not always mean equal hours will be allocated to these crucial aspects of life. This assumption is why most people fall short of a healthy work life balance because managing time equally daily is hard.
There will be more time for work on some days, and other days, you’ll have more time for personal activities. The key is to ensure you’re not sacrificing one for the other and always making time for important things.
Finding a healthy balance between your personal and professional life isn’t easy, but it is possible. The key to work life balance is finding contentment with both aspects.
What is the importance of work life balance?
People are more likely to work with employers that promote a healthy work life balance. Younger talent are also attracted to and likely to stay and grow with an organization that encourages work life balance.
Individuals react differently to a balanced work life. But, people with a healthy work life balance are generally healthier, happier, and more productive. Giving your work and personal life equal priority reduces stress, burnout, and absenteeism. The Canadian Centre for Occupational Health Safety (CCOHS) lists the adverse effects of failure to maintain a good work life balance as follows:
- Lower quality of work
- Poor mental health
- Occupational injuries
- Work-related musculoskeletal disorders.
- Job dissatisfaction
Benefits of a good work life balance
Encouraging employees to adopt these strategies results in immense benefits for employees and businesses. Some of the benefits of a good work life balance include the following:
- Fewer health issues like fatigue depression, heart related problems and poor mental health
- Lower risk of burnout
- Heightened productivity levels
- Elevated profits
- Better staff retention
- Increased employee morale
- More room for personal growth
- Better time management
Work life balance strategies
Working nonstop can drain employees physically and mentally and many employers wonder how to improve work life balance for your employees. Here are a few strategies for balancing work and life employers can encourage employees to follow.
1. Define priorities
Employees can learn how to balance work and life by clearly defining their priorities. Make a list of work and personal priorities and take time to reflect on the most important ones. This can differ from employee to employee depending on what’s important to them and where they are in life.
Consider how much time is dedicated to top priorities and where to develop better work life balance strategies. This can help with deciding which to focus on more, what to do differently, and what to stop doing.
2. Practice time tracking
Employers should remind employees to examine how they currently manage time and what they can allocate more or less time to. Encourage them to log how much time is spent doing each task every week and analyze their findings. Analyzing current time use will help determine how to distribute time for a better work life balance.
This should include personal and work activities to get comprehensive data on where they’re losing time. Tools like calendars, to-do lists, and personal time-tracking software are other helpful ways to improve time management.
3. Disconnect after work
The urge to keep working after official work hours is strong, especially in the age of mobile technology. With constant access to the virtual workplace, it’s easy for employees to keep working for hours. A work life balance strategy for combating this is having a mental on-and-off switch between personal and work time.
It’s helpful to have an activity as a signal for turning off or turning on the switch for work. Try encouraging employees to schedule personal activities like exercising at close of work to curb the urge to keep working.
In Ontario, it’s legally mandated for employers to have and implement a policy on the right to disconnect. Employers with over 25 employees must make sure a written policy is in place to stay compliant with local regulations.
4. Taking frequent breaks
Remind employees to rest and take breaks often. Resting helps recharge physical and mental batteries and helps employees feel engaged, makes work enjoyable, and reduces stress. Enjoy gratifying activities during rest periods, like reading, listening to music or walking in nature.
BrightHRs time tracking app Blip makes it easy for employers to track their employees' work hours. Blip also helps you make sure employees are getting enough downtime and reminds them to take breaks.
Breaking away to work in a different part of the office can also help to stimulate employees’ brains. It'll allow them to decongest so they can better focus on work. It also helps to encourage employees to observe lunch breaks, not work through lunch and avoid eating at their desks.
5. Flexible work arrangements
Employers who offer flexible work conditions help bridge the gap between work life balance problems and solutions. Allowing staff to work flex hours and compressed work weeks helps them dedicate time to other areas of their life. This can also help them work smarter as they’ll use time more efficiently. They’ll focus more on completing their tasks rather than counting down hours until the close of the day.
How to improve work life balance with BrightHR
Your employees are happier and more productive when they enjoy a good work life balance. It promotes employee retention and helps your business attract top talent in today’s world of work.
Workplaces that fail to recognize the importance of work life balance risk creating a toxic work environment.
There’s also a higher risk of burnout and health conditions like depression that dampen employee morale and productivity. That’s why employers must create an enabling environment for employees to have a good work life balance.
BrightHRs database of over 300 HR guides and templates BrightBase, equips you with documents like the right to disconnect and telecommuting policies. It also contains helpful letters like 'Advising employees to use vacation time' and 'Agreement to split daily break' letters.
It’s important that employers obtain these documents, share and make sure employees become familiar with the information they contain. This will help promote a healthy work life balance in your workplace.