While your value proposition is a key differentiator for your business, your wellbeing strategy is your key differentiator in your employee value proposition (EVP). There’s a war on talent and finding good, quality people is getting tighter. Individuals are not just looking for the highest salary or the biggest bonus on offer; they’re looking for businesses who can help them achieve a work-life balance, leaders who care about what’s going on in the inside (their emotions) as well as the outside (their productivity).
Before the pandemic, a common objection to remote working was the suspicion that staff would disengage and productivity levels would drop. But recent evidence suggests the opposite is true – working from home effectively means working more. In the UK, for example, many employees are reportedly putting in an extra two hours a day.
Between socialising, parenting, running errands, and working, we have significantly altered the way we live our lives. For many people, the public health crisis has meant a sudden shift to remote work environments as officials stress the importance of social distancing.
Here are seven tips to help you promote a work-life balance within your business…
The success of any business is hardwired to the productivity of its people, and often this calls for them to contribute their whole self, which often includes discretionary and optional commitment. You know what I mean; working late at short notice, the extra hours during the weekend, missing lunch because of a scheduled meeting. Yes, individuals may be remunerated for the extra hours, but how do you compensate for the lost hours from their life outside of work? Consider how you ‘repay’ these debits from the employee loyalty account – lunch vouchers, gym membership, cinema tickets – something to show you value and care for your people, in and outside the workplace.
Ensure you and your people are clear about the tensions and trade-offs they’ll accept while at work. For example; happy to work late vs not happy to work late, need to be away from the office by 5.00 pm on the dot vs can stay around a little while longer. Remove the pressure of these small but significant work-life conflicts by understanding what your people can and can’t do, and you’ll create clear work-life boundaries.
Put in place triggers to help identify and recognise any potential warning signs; Overtime approvals – is there a particular individual working a lot of overtime? Annual leave rota – is there an individual not taking their annual leave for some considerable time? Working hours – is there an individual always first in and last out of the office and you’re not sure why? These are all potential triggers for an out of kilt work-life balance. While we all recognise there will be times when the extra hard yards are asked of us, and we put the hours in to make it a success, there are also times when the triggers should heed as a warning to take action now before it’s too late.
Introduce a flexible working policy. Flexible working can take many forms, including working from home, compressed hours, split shifts, remote working, part-time hours, job share. Even when the pandemic is over you can offer flexible working, if you do offer it ensure your people feel comfortable enough to use it, don’t make them feel awkward for asking. The success of your strategy, and the benefits you and your business experience as a result of it, rests entirely on how well you and your managers practice what they preach.
Promote the culture of ‘one-time-only appointments’ in your personal life as being equally important as business meetings. Now, what do I mean by one-time-only appointments; school nativity plays, parents evenings, college inductions, those appointments which come round only once now. Once missed, you can never go back and do it again.
We all need quality downtime, and with 24/7 connectivity, it’s tough to switch off completely. Putting in place stricter after-hours work policies, such as no emails before 8.00 am or after 6.00 pm, no logging in at the weekend will ensure it’s not just an add on but a fundamental part of your work culture. Downtime is essential to an individual’s wellbeing. And in fact, some of our best thinking will be done in the quiet space of our downtime, when we’re relaxed, and at peace. Don’t allow these moments to be compromised.
Treat your people’s emotional well-being the same as you would their physical well-being. Their emotional wellbeing is not a luxury, and you should view it on an equal footing to their physical wellbeing. By understanding that it’s the energy source powering their performance – when it’s low, their performance is low – you recognise the short and long-term impact on them, their role and the business.
Understanding what makes you, you and what’s most important to you will help you commit to change. The catalyst for change is never a matter of ability but a matter of motivation. And what motivates you to do what you do is about understanding how you’re wired and what makes you tick.
Sounds intriguing, right?
Try the new growth enabler ‘What Makes You, You!’ on my business growth platform ‘The Business Growth Pathway’ today.