Now more than ever, employees are valuing jobs that support their ability to lead a healthy lifestyle. The Randstad 2019 employer global report found that the demand for employers that support a healthy work-life balance has steadily risen since 2015 and now sits top of mind for employers and employees since the start of the pandemic.
Building a work environment that supports a healthy work-life balance and encourages employees to take care of themselves outside of work may sound like a daunting ask for an employer. Here are three ideas to get you started.
Consider a shortened work week
A study that came out in 2019 got a lot of media coverage—for good reason. Microsoft’s subsidiary in Japan did an experiment over the summer to investigate what would happen to productivity if they cut their work week from five to four days a week. The result was a 40% spike in productivity from the same month of the previous year.
Take a moment to let that sink in.
Employees were given less time to accomplish their duties and more time to focus on their personal lives and the result was a massive increase in productivity for the company. Not to mention the savings they had from decreased electricity usage (down almost a quarter from the previous year) as well as a decreased use in office supplies.
Talk about a win-win for both employees and employers.
This may not be a model that works for your company, but don’t worry! There are other ways to offer employees greater personal control over work hours.
Don’t hoard time
In 2020, the number of employers who expect their staff to be available after working hours increased by 3.8% globally, landing a global average of 61%, and 55% in the United States. You can imagine how this can have a negative impact on employees’ work-life balance—especially if they’re working from home. Figure out how to ease off the pressure and help provide employees more time to take care of themselves, their families, and their personal lives.
Consider offering flex time to provide even more flexibility, allowing employees to have more autonomy around how they spend their days. Often, flex-schedules revolve around a set number of hours that are agreed upon, allowing employees to control what time they begin and end their workdays.
Companies that offer flex-schedules tend to have set hours during the day or week where all employees are required to be at the office (or available), allowing for easier scheduling and promoting collaboration.
Employees with children or family members in their care may want to set work schedules that allow them to run errands, manage their children, or take someone to a doctor appointment. The requirements of the company and the needs of the employee can coincide if you want to make it happen.
The easier you can make it for employees to work for you, the less stressed they’ll be. And the less stressed your employees are, the more likely they won’t call out of work. (Which, by the way, contributes to over half of all the lost working days in a year.)
Purchasing a benefits package for your employees can be incredibly expensive and isn’t an option for many small business owners. But that doesn’t mean you can’t provide employee perks that encourage self-care.
Consider getting rid of those beanbags no one ever sits in, and instead, offer perks that encourage employees to take time to nurture themselves.
Providing your employees with a gift certificate for a massage every quarter or offering a sponsored gym membership (or virtual training classes) are great examples. If you can, try putting together a number of options for employees to choose from.
When you offer employees a variety of perks and let them choose which is best for them, you’re contributing to a great employee experience. Offering choices increases the chance they’ll use it, gives them greater autonomy, and helps personalize the work experience.
You can even take this a step further and create opportunities for team building and development around fun, recreational activities. Just be sure you select activities that are accessible to everyone in your office.
Encouraging your employees to take care of themselves, to prioritize their mental, physical, and emotional health not only shows that you value them as individuals, but you recognize a healthy employee is a good employee. Talk about a good loyalty-builder!
Healthy employees = healthy business
Work-related stress can cause literal death, but it also contributes to lower engagement, lower productivity, and lower job satisfaction. Having stressed out employees does no good for anyone.
So whatever it is your company does to help, be it increased flexibility, decreased hours, or a free massage every few months, make sure your company is doing something. You’ll nurture trust, loyalty, and engagement in your employees.
Plus, it’s right thing to do. Care for them, and they’ll care for you.
Recruiting and retaining employees is easier when you can proudly offer a comprehensive benefits plan that makes your team members feel as valuable as they are. At Raffa, we build cost effective, long-lasting employee benefits strategies to keep your business and your employees in optimum health.
Photo by fizkes