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Strike the right balance

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