Work-life balance is increasingly talked about and something often regarded as unobtainable in today’s fast-paced world. Janice Haddon discusses what it means to the bottom line and how businesses can support their employees
We recently conducted research that implied work-life balance is low priority for HR departments, with recruiting top talent considered the number one focus. This is supported by the results of the CIPD’s Spring 2015 Labour Market Outlook.
But despite this seemingly low regard for work-life balance, the research also revealed that a good balance is considered to be the main influence on employee morale. So what is causing this apparent discrepancy?
There are few who would disagree that motivated staff perform better, bringing benefits to the bottom line in the process. Our research at serves to illustrate this, with organisations that concentrate on improving work-life balance and employee wellbeing experiencing 27% higher net earnings per employee than those that don’t. So why do so many organisations fail to get it right? Is there insufficient focus or care? Is it easier to ignore the problem than it is to fix it?
Recruiting top talent is all well and good. But if you fail to offer the right working environment to new employees then you are unlikely to keep them for long. Getting the basics right is crucial. Organisations need to start with policies and culture. That means clear job roles, defined targets, methods of performance management, review mechanisms, development, reward and recognition, family-friendly policies, teamwork, great communication mechanisms, control on working hours and genuine leaders that understand and inspire others.
On top of this you need to get your employee engagement and wellbeing strategy right to establish what works best for them.
Avoiding the above is the easy option, but it needn’t be as complicated as it first seems. Take the steps to get it right and it will start falling into place. My key suggestions are:
• Ensure workplace demands and pressures are matched to an individual’s knowledge and abilities
• Pay attention to working hours; don’t let them spiral out of control
• Have the right policies and culture in place
• Develop leaders with effective skills to support and inspire
• Support employees with ways for them to be consciously aware of their own work-life balance and wellbeing needs
The onus isn’t solely on the employer. At a personal level you can:
• Balance the time you spend on each area of your life
• Find time to relax and pursue hobbies
• Sleep. It supports your body and mind in rest
• Switch off. Step away from the to-do list and allow yourself to recharge
• Be mindful and fully present in what you’re doing
• Actively listen to others and work on your communication skills
• Exercise and drink plenty of water, making sure you boost energy levels by getting the right fuel for your body
Your body has essential needs. Be sure that these are met. With an employer’s assistance you can perfect the balance between work and your personal life. The benefits for both parties are considerable, so if both employee and employer invest properly, the rewards will be ten fold.
Janice Haddon is MD of corporate consultancy Morgan Redwood, which helps companies and employees unlock their potential. Find out more at morganredwood.com