In recent years, wellbeing in the workplace has taken more and more of a spotlight. For businesses, it is absolutely integral to ensure that all team members, permanent or temporary, are happy with the working environment. Whilst this is often no mean feat, one of the best ways to increase the wellbeing and satisfaction of your team is by assessing how much of a work-life balance you provide.
The recent Randstad Employer Brand research reports ‘work-life balance’ overtake ‘salaries and benefits’ for the first time in ten years as the top factor New Zealanders look for when taking on a new job. With this in mind, today we’ll discuss how Prolancer’s unique values and tailored services can help hirers promote a work-life balance amongst team.
Why is a work-life balance important?
Put simply, a work-life balance consists of making sure your team members split their time evenly between work and leisure - enabling them to lead happier, healthier, and more fulfilled lives. It can be hard to find a balance between working productively and providing sufficient space for your team to relax away from the screen, but its significance cannot be understated.
Did you know: those with a healthy work-life balance are far more likely to be engaged in their workplace?
That’s right - according to CIPD, 77% of surveyed employees who describe themselves as ‘engaged’ consider themselves to have a good balance between work and home life.
On the flip side of this, there are negative implications for your team if an adequate work-life balance is not provided. Yes, the dreaded ‘B’ word: burnout. Commonly identified as physical or emotional exhaustion, burnout can affect how both you and your team respond to challenges in the workplace.
Burnout may be more likely to occur when your team feels unappreciated, inadequate, ‘stretched too thin’, or feel they cannot physically take a break from work. According to Deloitte’s 2018 Workplace Burnout Survey, 42% of surveyed individuals worry that their absence from work would provoke serious issues.
The five-step strategy to promoting a work-life balance:
Thankfully, there are sure-fire ways to ensure you’re being a responsible team leader, by reducing burnout and promoting a healthy work-life balance. These five key steps are just some of the many actions you can take to ensure your team is happy, healthy, and on top of their game.
1. Establish an ‘open door policy’
One of the easiest ways to promote a work-life balance is to ensure that your team members know where to go when they feel they’re struggling. By enforcing an open-door policy for all, you communicate that you are there to answer queries, provide reassurance, or work through issues together. This can apply to professional or work-related challenges or even personal matters.
Once issues are identified, effective strategies can be implemented to mitigate them. For example, a report published earlier this month sees a whopping 92% of employers enhancing their support systems for mental health and well-being, including how to manage stress, resilience, and improving sleep.
Therefore, opening your door and making yourself available to your team can improve work-life balance in ways you never thought possible!
2. Set and respect communication boundaries.
Whether you’re dropping a quick message in the Slack channel or sending a lengthy email update, always consider setting established hours for both work and communications. You need to ensure your team do not feel pressured to reply or make themselves available to you outside of their agreed working hours. Doing so can have a significantly negative impact on mental wellbeing, and therefore promote an unhealthy work-life balance.
There are easy ways to establish this: try implementing the acronym ‘NRN’ (no reply needed) for communications that aren’t necessarily urgent. Alternatively, you could add a section of your email signature that recognises your working patterns may be different to your team members - thus they should respond inside of their own working hours. Of course, you should always lead by example - if you don’t expect to receive emails after 7 pm, don’t send them to your team after this time.
3. Encourage your team to take breaks.
Given that the average UK citizen has an attention span of just 14 minutes, it’s no wonder that your team may feel their focus dwindling after hours on the same task. Though your team members may feel the inclination to work solidly for hours at a time, gradually ticking away at tasks, research has shown that breaks or ‘brief diversions’ can actually increase focus by allowing you to ‘deactivate and reactivate’ from your goals.
Whether working remotely or in the office, there are ways to designate spaces for breaks. If working remotely, consider creating break-out rooms or specific online spaces for taking a breather. Alternatively, encourage your team to stretch their legs and step away from the screen for even five to ten minutes. If working in the office, make sure your workspace is as inviting as possible. Ensure there are plenty of spaces to sit quietly for your team to take a brief pause. Open spaces with lots of windows can help to create a sense of calm.
4. Check-in regularly and ask for feedback
Asking your team for feedback on what they think is working well is another key aspect of opening communication and enabling a work-life balance. When only around 12% of employees are asked for feedback on a regular basis, compared to the 47% who have never been asked (data from Sage), you may find that your team are struggling a little more than they might suggest.
This goes hand-in-hand with our tip to implement an open-door policy; don’t just make your team aware they can approach you, actively approach them. As well as this, it’s important to regularly review the workload you’ve set. This includes reviewing the allocation of duties by weighing up who has been asked to complete which tasks and their individual capacity.
It’s likely your team aren’t always keen to tell you if they feel snowed under - so make sure you’re being proactive in asking.
5. Value flexible working
Our final method for promoting a healthy work-life balance is to appreciate the value of a flexible or blended working model. Just over 80% of UK employees value flexibility in their job, citing this as an incentive to stay in a position. The attractiveness of flexibility lies not just in its practical advantages but in its demonstration of trust.
Flexible models don’t just show that you recognise the differing needs of every team member - they also show that you have faith in your team members to complete the tasks they’re set, without feeling as though they are micromanaged. This trust cements a sense of accountability and responsibility which, in turn, may lead to higher productivity due to a renewed sense of confidence.
Therefore, adapting to flexible working models can help you to demonstrate that you cater for each of your team member’s needs, and trust them to put in the effort required to complete tasks. This can effectively promote a healthy work-life balance.
How can Prolancer help?
Prolancer is committed to providing a service for businesses to hire vetted professionals or ready-made expert teams. We provide an efficient marketplace whereby top-rated talent is matched with businesses looking to hire in a balanced and fair culture.
We pride ourselves on valuing a work-life balance by equipping you with the tools you need to hire the right talent - whether individuals or teams - for your business. Every one of our professionals is vetted, and matched to your business using smart algorithms and a relationship manager checking both technical skills and soft skills including geography, culture and fit with the business. This ensures you can work together easily without the complication of time zones, language barriers, or unclear expectations. This will enable you to promote a healthy work-life balance by making communication as clear as possible.
Hire your next talent today with Prolancer!