Emphasize Work-Life Balance for a Productive Office Culture

By Robert Half on March 18, 2015 at 1:00pm

Promoting work-life balance doesn’t just benefit employees — it helps your overall office culture.

Did you know that working more can actually lead to decreased productivity? When your employees are stressed, their physical and mental well-being is more likely to be negatively affected. They work less efficiently, they call in sick more often and their work quality suffers. But the negative cycle doesn’t end there. Morale can slip, too, and pretty soon, they might start looking for better job opportunities.

Integrating work-life balance into your office culture is one of the best ways to avert employee burnout, maintain productivity and retain your top people. Here are four tips for getting started:

1. Flexibility is key

Achieving a culture of work-life balance means finding ways to help your team create a happy medium between professional and personal demands. Consider offering alternative work arrangements. Telecommuting, for instance, is a great solution if an employee has a tough commute or family commitments that conflict with his or her work schedule. Another solution is a condensed workweek, in which an employee works a longer daily schedule, but for fewer days (10 hours per day for four days a week, for example). This gives employees a longer stretch of downtime in which to unwind and recharge — making it more likely they'll return to work with more energy and enthusiasm.

2. Healthy employees are happy employees

Nonmonetary incentives that encourage a positive lifestyle can be an excellent way to help employees find a work-life balance, which, in turn, bodes well for your retention rates. These perks don’t have to break the bank. You can offer wellness programs and discounted gym memberships, or get creative by adding napping rooms and free healthy snacks to the office. 

3. Lead by example

As manager, you set the tone. Set a good example by preserving equilibrium in your own life. Your attempts to encourage work-life balance won’t be taken seriously if your employees perceive you as a workaholic. Manage your own time carefully to avoid having to stay late or work at home, and when the office staff is gathering socially, be sure to join in. Celebrating the completion of projects as a team is one way to alleviate stress in the workplace and demonstrate a healthier corporate culture. Give bonus days off if you can, or organize group social activities during working hours to motivate and reward hard work. 

4. Know when to get help 

Learn how to anticipate busy times and recognize the warning signs of burnout among your staff, so you can call in for reinforcements. Using temporary staffing solutions can relieve pressure on your full-time team and is more cost-effective in the long run than pushing employees to work overtime. Interim staff can fill in gaps and take on seasonal work, while your regular employees continue to focus on the tasks for which they’re skilled and trained. This ensures that productivity doesn’t suffer and your workers don’t experience the harmful effects of overwork.

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