There is something to be said about an employer that truly values a work-life balance for its employees. A business that considers workers’ life outside of their job is likely one that will have a low turnover and a high rate of successful employees. Determining the ways in which a company can assist in the flexibility and work-life balance of its employees is a challenge that requires a bit of research. Discovering the best route for an employer to take so that productivity is at maximum levels and employees have a balance is crucial.
How does a company utilize workplace flexibility to create a work-life balance for staff members? While it is not the sole responsibility of the employer to develop a balance between work and life, it does help in a number of areas: productivity, motivation, job satisfaction, and lower stress levels. Obviously, this benefits both employee and employer. A company can assist with the balance by allowing a bit more flexibility in work time, place, and how the work is completed.
Understanding how both a company and an individual can use the flexibility options to have a better balance between work and life can not only inform how to go about it but may also inspire the change necessary. It is best for everyone if work is not an employee’s every thought, conversation, and breath. In fact, having a work-life balance has benefits that many people would not have realized.
Workplace flexibility is a concept that is required in order to find a great work-life balance. When an employer offers flexibility in hours worked, where the work is done, and how it is done, it will likely be found that employees are better at their jobs. This does not mean that a company should allow their personnel to work whatever hours they so desire and only come into the office when he or she might feel like it, but it does mean that some reasonable accommodations be made.
Since staff retention is an issue for a number of employers, having some semblance of flexibility is often something that can help. To begin with, offer both full and part-time positions. Not only will this allow some flexibility in scheduling, but it will also cut down on the cost of personnel. Part-time employees do not have to be offered employer-paid insurance. They are also not paid overtime. Because of fewer hours, part-time employees are able to more easily find a balance between work and life.
A business might also thrive in allowing staff members to choose their own schedules. By providing options, rather than simply telling employees when they should be working, said employees are more able to coordinate their lives outside of work. While it is dependent upon the industry, some employers might allow their people to work the schedule that they have designed themselves. Allowing that freedom is a highly coveted privilege in the world of business.
Another commonly coveted privilege in the business world is the ability to work from home. Employees with this level of flexibility often find themselves working wherever they want to. From an at home office to a coffee shop, or even as they travel the world. It is fairly clear that many industries are incapable of offering such an aspect of flexibility.
For instance, a sales associate in a retail store would probably be unable to sell the in-store product from the comfort of his or her home. However, positions that require nothing more than a phone and computer are often fully capable of moving to other locations.
The final aspect of flexibility is the how. The idea that giving employees options on how they do their jobs is simply workplace flexibility is one that takes some thought. Consider this: An employer that requests individual tasks that lead up to one large task creates a division between the employer and his or her work. This is micromanaging and often causes rifts between staff members and higher-ups.
For example, if an employee were assigned a job in which he or she had to develop a presentation but the supervisor has asked that the employee provided the presentation for review in steps, the creativity may have taken a hit. Perhaps the employee prefers to work backward or has a different process. By providing less direction and giving trusted employees a bit more freedom, a company can often expect better results.
Incorporating these aspects of workplace flexibility allows for personnel to develop a better sense of work-life stability. It is where a company can begin with the proper balance many people are searching for in a career. When schedules are chosen more than assigned, the location of work can be altered, and employees are able to work in their own best way, flexibility gives way to a work-life balance.
A chosen schedule can make sure a mother can pick her kids up from school. Working from a coffee shop might mean some social interaction with an old friend. Completing tasks in the best order that the employee sees fit often boosts confidence and puts personal skills to use. Whatever it is that flexibility does for the lives of employees outside of work is something that is necessary for total balance.
A career that offers no flexibility is one that makes it hard to turn off thoughts surrounding the office. Long days cause exhaustion and keep people from partaking in social activities. Staying in the office all day, every day is a step closer to burnout every single day. Micromanaging every moment of time for employees destroys any new ideas and better productivity. However, a number of industries search for potential employees willing to offer this kind of non-flexible work.
While it makes sense that some companies like having someone available to them at all hours of the day and night, the disadvantages often far outweigh the ability to call in someone for overtime. Having a need for this kind of employee is typically a sign of high turnover rates. This is a common position that people without experience and just beginning to enter the workforce find themselves in. These companies are more interested in the flexibility of employees rather than being flexible themselves.
Finding work-life balance requires flexibility. How does a company offer this? One of the most common ideas surrounding workplace flexibility right now is condensing the workweek into 4 days. By giving employees 3 days off rather than just 2, a company can help employees to have a life outside of work. Working a 10 hour day 4 days a week would provide employees with the same hours of work, but provide them the ability to do more on their days off.
Another way for a company to offer the previously discussed flexible options is to try out remote work with a few trusted employees. As a test run, have an employee work solely from home or elsewhere and another one that works a few days from home each week. Employers can determine the best option for the company with a few trial runs.
What would be the benefits of providing flexibility? As previously mentioned, employee turnover would be much lower when the employer allows for more flexibility. This leads to happier members of staff, which often develops a sense of loyalty towards the company. That loyalty not only means that employees want to stick around, but it means they put forth their best efforts. Productivity rates shoot through the roof, sick days are less common, and stress is reduced drastically.
With these benefits comes additional positives. The employer’s workforce will have a camaraderie and sense of teamwork that not only improves the work efforts but boosts morale. Communication between co-workers and departments will be more seamless and employees will find themselves to be more accountable for their decisions and actions.
If the benefits seem too good to be true, they are not. The science behind work-life balance is simple. Time away from work allows for rejuvenation and rest. This is a necessity in both mental terms and physical. When an employee gives themselves a break from work, they are happier to return to it. If no break is given, going to work can be dreadful.
- Create rules when employees can be contacted outside of work
- Commit to defined work hours
- Use vacation time
- Create a comfortable office space
- Use a schedule to manage time
- Employees need to be realistic with themselves
While workplace flexibility plays a huge role in finding a balance between work and personal life, there are a number of other ways that can help. Determining the best for both employer and employees is often the best course of action. Remembering that the business is looking for success whilst the staff members are often seeking a job that allows them to live is a large part of choosing the best options.
One way to establish balance is to create rules regarding when employees can be contacted outside of work. While this might not be true for major emergencies, it is usually unnecessary for an employer to contact a member of the staff at 10:00 pm. Waiting until the employee arrives at work in the morning is typically a more accepted way to discuss work matters.
If coworkers contact each other away from work simply because they don’t want to forget before morning, utilizing memory tricks like notes or reminders on the phone can help. Understanding that boundary is ideal for work-life balance.
Another way to make work-life balance possible is to prioritize. If a worker is unable to finish something important at work and ends up taking it home, it is likely that priorities were not set or made clear. By learning how to do the most important tasks first, an employee can get the hard jobs done and leave the easier, less important items for when he or she is losing steam at the end of the day.
Commit to the defined work hours. Staying late is not conducive to a good work-life balance. In fact, staying late is quite the opposite. Work during work hours. This means that employees need to stay focused and motivated during the day. Small breaks can be utilized for additional communication with co-workers or getting a coffee, but the day should be productive.
Use vacation time. When employees take their paid time off, it is important to avoid everything work-related during that time. Using paid days off to decompress and clear minds is a great way to come back more motivated and productive than ever before.
Create a comfortable office space. When the brain isn’t focusing on the body’s aches and pains from a bad chair, it is more likely to get quality work completed. By filling the office area with ergonomic chairs, desks, keyboards, and the like, work is likely to be much more productive and efficient. This leaves time after work free to do as one pleases.
Use a schedule to manage time. Work-life balance can be hard to find if employees are unsure of what he or she should be doing. By writing it all out and estimating the time required, staff will be more likely to attempt to meet those time goals. It is also recommended to pencil in some free time! Do not use that free time to catch up on work, but rather to do something personal.
It is also advised that employees be realistic with themselves. Do not pack so many tasks into one day. By knowing what tasks can truly be completed and which ones would likely cause a long day, it is possible that a more efficient schedule can be developed. Also, determining what worked for the day and what went wrong can help to know what should be changed for future days.
While it seems that workplace flexibility is the best and most obvious solution to a heavy workload, finding a work-life balance can be left up to a number of things. Having both working hours and home hours, personnel should be able to determine the best route to take to find their own balance. Even when someone honestly enjoys his or her work, a life outside of their job is needed to stay truly healthy. Without that balance, stress and medical issues can creep in. By helping employees to find their balance, companies will see the advantages on their end as well.
What industries allow for the most workplace flexibility? Workplace flexibility is often found in freelancers, as they work for themselves in a variety of areas. However, it does depend on the clientele and type of work they do. Artists are often times very flexible, whereas consultants require more structure.
Why do employers want flexible team members? Despite the good that comes from a work-life balance and workplace flexibility, there are many employers that seek out potential employees with a wide open schedule. When staff is required to be present, such as in a restaurant, companies want an employee that can work at any time.
How can you find motivation? Motivation can be found in to-do lists, inspirational quotes, and goals that have been written out. It may also help to complete a series of small tasks that lead up to the larger one so that progress is actually being felt.
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