When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in early 2020, businesses were suddenly forced to rethink how they operate. As employees started to work from home and meetings moved online, the lines between ‘work’ and ‘life’ suddenly became more blurred than ever before.
This week kicks off National Work Life Week here in the UK, so we’re taking the opportunity to reflect on the importance of work-life balance, as well as how employers can facilitate better wellbeing for their employees – both within, and outside of, the workplace.
Why is Work-Life Balance Important for Employees?
For the first time in several years, the majority (65%) of UK employees voted work-life balance – not salary – as the top driver when seeking a new employer.
Work-life balance doesn’t just mean having a good balance between work and private life. The term also refers to a person’s flexibility in their career, particularly their ability to dedicate time and energy to their life outside of the workplace – such as family, friends, and hobbies.
When employees have optimal work-life balance, there are also numerous benefits for employers. Firstly, it boosts a worker’s productivity, and ultimately their performance, as having the adequate time off work allows employees to work harder on the job.
Secondly, employees who are stressed and over-worked often suffer from poorer physical and mental health, as well as increased absences as a result. By ensuring employees are having the adequate balance between work and time off, employees are likely to be healthier, happier, and therefore, require less time away from their role.
Finally, by ensuring your workplace encourages optimal work-life balance, it can help you draw a valuable talent-pool for new recruits and boost retention rates. According to Oxford Economics, replacing an employee costs around £30,000, on average, and it takes up to 28 weeks to get them up to speed. In other words, that’s a lot of time and money that (in some cases) can be avoided.
How to Encourage Better Work-Life Balance for Employees
As you can see, encouraging greater equality between work and life for your employees provides numerous benefits to your company as a whole. Here are our top three tips for helping your employees strike that perfect balance.
1. Offer flexible and remote working where possible
As employees begin to return to the office, many are left feeling anxious about suddenly not having the flexibility of working from home. Where possible, allow your workers to still have opportunities to work remotely when required, such as if they have to look after their child, attend a doctor’s appointment, or are unable to commute to the office that day.
2. Encourage time off
Many employees choose to accumulate their annual leave allowance over a long period of time, either to have it paid out or for a lengthy vacation down the track. Instead, try to encourage your employees to regularly make use of smaller, yet more frequent breaks from work. This will assist with their wellbeing more in the long run.
3. Implement fun employee events
Your company doesn’t have to be “all work and no play”, especially on a Friday afternoon, for example. Try to set aside at least one Friday afternoon event with your employees that encourages them to have fun and de-stress. This might include virtual office parties or shutting down your computers an hour earlier to enjoy snacks, music, and mingling, or even leaving the office to enjoy team-building activities, such as an escape room or laser tag.
Here at ExpenseIn, we’re huge advocates for employee work-life balance. Not only does our team work remotely, but our company is also very supportive about flexible working to ensure greater wellbeing.
Get in touch today to learn how our expense management solution can support your business to achieve the optimal work-life balance among employees.