There’s plenty of chatter about the importance of work-life balance, but we all know it’s easier discussed than achieved. There are projects galore, loose ends to tie, and a never-ending list of tasks and emails begging for attention. And then there are the demands of having a family, where quality face time, and not screen time, reigns supreme. Finding that sweet spot of work-life balance is hard enough when the sun isn’t shining and flowers aren’t blooming.
A recent approach to work-life balance shakes up the traditional view of compartmentalizing the two spheres. With an increasingly digital and connected life, this philosophy puts work and life on a spectrum, where priorities shift and swing during the day. A major project at work might be in the back of your mind while you’re spending evening hours with family, but that doesn’t mean you aren’t focusing on the most important and immediate priorities.
Approaching work-life balance from a personal perspective is one thing, but how does a manager keep employees from stagnating, especially when the sun comes out and family time is on the brain?
Bellevue-based Limeade produced a new e-book this month that says employers can keep worker bees engaged by offering flexibility and benefits that employees want but rarely get. In turn, worker benefits build loyalty and ensure time spent out of the office is lived, instead of dedicated to more work. Limeade is a fan of the “work hard, play harder” ethos.
“This means giving employees the flexibility to set a schedule that works best for them, and trust they’re getting the work done. It means measuring performance by success metrics, not hours spent in front of a screen,” the company said in a blog post announcing the e-book, The whole employee: What every CHRO should know.
A few tips provided in the e-book include stress-relief breaks and offering time off with permission to put up the “do not disturb” sign. According to Limeade, 71 percent of workers want short breaks during the day, but only 28 percent get them. Bonus: those who do get breaks are 14 percent more engaged in their work.
The e-book says that when employees believe their employer cares about their health and well-being, they are 10 times less likely to be hostile, 17 percent more likely to be working there in one year, 28 percent more likely to recommend their organization, and are 38 percent more engaged.
In previous decades, it’s been up to the employee to mentally clock out of work. In an increasingly digital workplace, employers have just as much responsibility, if not more, to manage expectations and make sure employees aren’t working when they aren’t required to do so.