Finding that elusive work-life balance isn’t just a solo pursuit: managers have a key role to play in supporting their teams to find the balance they need. Workplace policy also plays a part. So what should we, as managers and team leaders, be doing to encourage and support a healthier work-life balance on a daily basis?
Managers who help their teams achieve a better work-life balance will be creating a healthier work environment where people are more focused, productive and less likely to suffer burnout.
So what can managers do to support their workforce to achieve an improved sense of balance in their working lives?
#1. Recognise that everyone is different
Work-life balance will mean something different to each member of your team – and each person’s ideal is probably different to your own. Take the time to understand the expectations of individual team members.
#2. Lead by example
As a manager, it can be even harder to find work-life balance. The buck stops with you; managers often find themselves working more hours, and greater demands placed upon them. However, it is important to recognise your own influence as role model.
#3. Enshrine work-life balance in your company culture
Encourage the philosophy of working smart hours to achieve more. Research shows that spending more time at work doesn’t necessarily result in greater productivity. Build a culture that recognises this, where employees can focus on the goals that really matter.
#4. Where are we now?
Employee surveys can be a good first step in current-state analysis. By establishing the current base line, you can identify the areas where you need to achieve and prioritise those changes that will benefit the greatest number of staff.
#5. Implement progressive welfare policies
Ensuring staff feel looked after boosts productivity, engagement and retention. Why not implement HR policies to ensure staff feel supported? The USA is the only advanced economy in the world that does not guarantee its workers any paid vacation leave; the average taken is just ten days. This gives you a huge opportunity to offer above-average benefits – helping you to attract and retain the best talent, as well as helping staff gain a better work-life balance.
#6. Ensure time off is time off
It can be difficult to learn how to switch off; don’t make it more difficult for your staff. However tempting it might be to request support from a member of staff who’s off sick or on vacation leave, don’t call – and don’t encourage other staff to call either! Allow time off to be time off.
#7. Educate employees about the importance of time off
It can be difficult to spot when employees are feeling stressed or in danger of burnt out. Encourage a culture where staff feel empowered to take time off and prioritise their health and work-life balance. Internal seminars can help raise awareness and take the fear out of speaking with management about feelings of stress or overwork.
#8. Offer flexitime and telecommuting
Flexible working practices such as flexible working hours and the opportunity to work from home are practical measures that free staff to meet their obligations and pursue their interests outside work and find a better work-life balance.
#9. Promote healthy living
Promoting good health can be as simple as making considered choices about the food outlets in your building and building partnerships with local gyms.
#10. Promote action in the community initiatives
Research shows millennials are twice as likely to be loyal to a social CEO. Giving back to the community isn’t just good for society; it’s good for your business too. As well as boosting engagement and retention, social initiatives help to imbue a sense of purpose and foster collaboration and wellbeing.
#11. Build support networks
Work with other teams and senior management to create a supportive culture within your organisation. Mentoring schemes can help staff focus on finding an optimal work-life balance as well as being a fantastic way of developing talent and sharing knowledge.
#12. Develop skills
Some of the most important skills employees can develop are the soft skills that help them improve work-life balance for themselves. Learning how to delegate, how to prioritise tasks, and how to manage time effectively are learning outcomes of which every team member can benefit.