Keeping staff balanced without breaking the bank

Work Life Balance

While this can offer a certain degree of flexibility when it comes to working hours, the ‘always on’ culture can also lead to a real increase in employee burnout, causing staff to become stressed, overworked and unhappy in their jobs. Running a business often depends on a healthy and happy team of staff to work as the driving force behind growth and productivity, and the reality is that a healthy work-life balance is key to achieving this.

Staff who can disconnect at the end of the day and leave the office behind are more likely to be passionate about their career and the company they work for, while businesses that actively encourage their workforce to relax and unwind outside of working hours are more likely to benefit from increased productivity and motivation. Although businesses in their early stages might not have huge funds to spend on incentives or perks, there are some simple, cost-effective initiatives that business owners can implement to ensure that their staff are leading healthy, balanced lives.

Suggest a digital switch-off

Digital switch offThe prevalence of smartphones, tablets and laptops in the workplace means that it’s increasingly easy for staff to take work home with them; all too often employees will leave the office, only to put more hours in at home. Encouraging staff to disable emails on their phones and to leave laptops or tablets at the office is a simple, yet often effective, way to help workers maintain a healthy balance in their lives. Implementing a no-email-outside-of-work policy should help staff to come to work refreshed and raring to go, in addition to cutting down the number of employees who feel overworked.

While some staff might be less inclined to switch off outside of working hours, business owners who encourage this behaviour and make it clear that working outside of office hours isn’t obligatory should find themselves with happier and healthier staff. Often employees take work home with them because they feel that it’s expected, so putting guidelines in place should help to set staff straight and enable them to switch off outside the office.

Organise staff get-togethers

Staff get together

Happy employees tend to be more productive, and one of the best ways to achieve high morale within the office is by encouraging team bonding and staff get-togethers. All too often, workplace friendships stay within the people who work together or sit beside each other; mixing things up and encouraging department or company-wide social events is key. By organising low-key events which enable staff to get together outside of the office environment, for example after-work drinks or dinners, business owners should find that their employees are actually happier and more productive at work.

Encouraging friendships amongst staff is important for business owners, as employees with friends at work tend to be more engaged and positive about their job, ultimately leading to a healthier work-life balance and increased motivation.

Partner with local businesses

While you might not be able to offer every member of staff a free gym membership or unlimited workplace perks, it can often be useful to approach local businesses and enquire about partnerships and discounts. For example, you might find that a local gym is willing to offer reduced rates, or that nearby restaurants can offer a discount prices.

In doing so, businesses should be able to create a culture that encourages staff to stay healthy outside of the office and to spend time away from work, without spending huge amounts of money on perks and incentives.

Keep working hours dedicated to work

Work hours

While the internet undoubtedly makes it easier for many employees to get work done, it also holds a wealth of distractions. This, alongside the use of personal mobiles during working hours, can lead to employees spending longer in the office, as they face multitasking and even procrastination.

By encouraging staff to keep the use of personal phones and social media limited to their lunch break, business owners will likely find that their staff get more done during the day, and don’t have to stay late to meet deadlines or complete their workload.

Helping staff to achieve a healthy work-life balance is one of the most important things that a business owner can do; not only will they benefit from a thriving workforce, but employees who feel valued and cared for are more likely to stay loyal to their employer. While organising get-togethers such as dinner or after work drinks might cost money, they are a cost-effective way to keep morale high and to entice staff out of the office.

The easiest way for SMEs to help their employees disconnect from work is to create a company culture that supports this; following the tips above and encouraging staff to switch their emails off outside of working hours, and to keep the working day free of personal tasks or internet distractions, is a simple way to foster an office environment that advocates a healthy work-life balance. Employees who take the time to unwind away from the office, and feel supported by their employer to do so, are often happier and more engaged with their work, ultimately resulting in good news for employers and businesses alike.

By Lee Biggins, founder and managing director of CV-Library