Employees can figure out how they spend their time, but support from their employer is critical. Managers who prioritize the health and well-being of their teams should take steps to understand what work-life balance means for each team member and help them achieve it.
Here are ten practices managers can use to help their teams feel comfortable with their work-life balance.
1. Offer Work Hour Flexibility
A recent survey of 9,000 digital workers conducted by Slack found that over 70 percent prefer a hybrid model that divides their work time between home and office. As much as possible, allow team members to pursue their version of balance by deciding when and where they will work.
2. Focus on Task Completion, and Quality
According to Arianna Huffington, “We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work instead of the quality of time we put in.”
Pay attention to the amount and quality of work getting done instead of your team’s number of hours logged. As long as employees complete tasks on schedule, and the work is of high quality, let them decide when to work longer hours and when they can afford to take off early or leave during the day for an appointment, as long as doing so is supportive of the needs of end customers. For example, if your end customers need support from 9-5, starting early 6-2 may not support end customers from 2-5.
3. Balance Workloads
Review your team’s workloads and make sure to distribute the tasks equitably. Doing this requires a good understanding of each team member’s capabilities and the amount of time needed to finish specific tasks. Communicate often, so no one becomes stressed or overwhelmed.
4. Take a Break
Short breaks throughout the day can re-energize the body and sharpen the mind. Encourage team members to get away from their desks and enjoy a change of scenery. Allowing your employees a change of scenery is especially important for team members working from home and maybe a bit more isolated. A short walk outdoors can do wonders when putting work issues into perspective.
5. Encourage Vacations
Sadly, American workers use only half their vacation time on average per year. Everyone should experience the relaxation and rejuvenation of unplugging from work. Encourage team members to use their vacation days and resist the urge to check email while they’re gone.
6. Listen to Family Needs
A manager may not know how much a parent struggles with work-life balance until they quit. Be aware of team members’ childcare demands and try to be as flexible as possible about requests for time off. The same goes for those who are caring for parents or other relatives.
Make sure that mothers and fathers receive equal parental leave and other benefits to support a better home life for all parents regardless of gender.
7. Balance Being a Role Model as a Manager
Managers who work long hours and never take time set a poor example for their teams, which often imitate this behavior to try and fit in. Show you value work-life balance by leaving on time, taking breaks, and avoiding after-hours emails.
8. Supply Valuable Perks
Fun perks like free snacks and ping pong tables don’t promote balance as much as companies think. Plus, they’re not available for team members working remotely. If you want to supply perks, consider services that will improve team members’ lives, like hybrid work from home even though many employers are now returning to the office.
9. Support Volunteering
Giving time to others by volunteering provides a sense of well-being that supports work-life balance. Many companies sponsor a charitable cause or event to promote employee volunteering. If this isn’t possible, think about giving each employee a few hours of paid time off for volunteer activities.
10. Use a Tailored Approach
Each team member is a unique individual, and each has a unique vision of work-life balance. If you want to hire and keep the best people, take time to understand and support each of their visions
Supporting your employees this way may mean allowing one person to start work later in the day or another person to switch to part-time hours. Tailoring your approach for each person’s needs instead of trying a one-size-fits-all approach will help everyone achieve more balance.