Work-life balance has a different meaning to each person, but there are some common steps that leaders can take to help create a balanced work environment.
These days work-life balance is an important factor for most team members, regardless of location, role, seniority, or any other workplace factor. There are many benefits to be had, not only for team members but also for employers, including less burnout, improved health, higher productivity, and better engagement.
The good news is that team leaders have many options available to them to give their employees some much-needed balance, here are just a few.
Having more than one employee trained in each area provides not only coverage for you as an employer, but also for the employees themselves. This can offer significant peace of mind when one employee is off work sick, on vacation, or even leaving the company. Cross-training isn’t new, and companies who have adopted this practice have likely saved themselves and their employees unnecessary stress and sleepless nights during hectic scheduling or resource conflicts.
SEE: Cross-Training Tool Kit (TechRepublic Premium)
Assign work-from-home days
A significant part of work-life balance is being able to work from home, at least periodically. In fact, Buffer’s 2019 State of Remote Work report shows that 99% of respondents said they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their careers. Adopting a partial or hybrid approach to remote work can alleviate some stress and allow your team members some flexibility, reduced travel, and independence. Depending on the nature of their work, it can be a welcome surprise for employees to have the option to work from home one day a week. This type of goodwill lets your employees know that you trust their work ethic and their ability to get the job done.
SEE: Top 100+ tips for telecommuters and managers (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
Invest in cloud-based technology
For employees to be able to work from home, your company will need to invest in cloud-based and mobile device-ready technology. Thanks to the coronavirus outbreak, many companies have had to do so very quickly. Many project management companies have made it easy for teams to monitor projects, collaborate, analyze, and report results remotely, all from within one platform. In addition to project management software, there are many other technologies available to make remote work easier. Teams no longer need to be in the office to be able to remain productive. By investing in the right technologies, which are very affordable these days, teams can stay connected and easily get their work done from home. Technology enables teams to have work-life balance.
SEE: Top 8 Project Management Tools (TechRepublic)
Allow flexible schedules
If remote work is not an option for your business, consider flex schedules in which employees can choose to work a four-day workweek and take an extra day off to allow them a long weekend each week. It’s important to discuss the pros and cons of this type of week, and factor in how feasible it may be in each case. There will be benefits and drawbacks including, payroll and vacation calculation adjustments, coverage while the employee is off work, the potential impact on customers, and other factors. A four-day work week may not work for all employees, and it can be difficult to reverse this decision if things don’t work out. To ensure this approach works as expected consider doing a trial first and set out expectations in a written agreement.
Creating work-life balance for your team members can be rewarding all around, but there may be an adjustment period, and you and each team member will need to be on the same page in terms of expectations. The results can lead to even greater success in the long run.