Social media was flooded with the trend of “quiet quitting” for a while. People argue that "quiet quitting" is simply another way of saying "work-life balance," and that managers should support their staff to adopt a culture of work-life balance in order to prevent employee "quiet quitting." The article will explain the importance of work-life balance to a company through the lense of research and suggest 6 ways for managers to support employees achieving harmony in their professional and personal life.
Have you truly understood “work-life balance”?
You may have heard “work-life balance” a thousand times on social media with the definition of simply “I pay equal time, effort and energy for work and personal life”. However, the term has gone through years of research and scholars have defined it as “a high level of engagement in work life as well as non-work life with minimal conflict between social roles in work and nonwork life”, according to Sirgy et al in their research “Work-life balance: An integrative review” in 2018.
In other words, achieving work-life balance requires more than just allocating certain amounts of time and resources to each side in order to maintain harmony. It also requires significant commitment from both sides, as well as discipline and dedication - to ensure that work and personal life do not conflict.
Interestingly, although “balance” may appear to have positive connotations, there are both positive and negative work-life balances.
Positive work-life balance refers to high investment of time and involvement in both work and family roles. In contrast, negative balance is the opposite—that is, the individual does not invest much time or energy in both work and family roles. Negative role balance refers to the tendency to become fully disengaged in the performance of every role.
So be careful - work-life balance is not always a good idea, it would be far worse if your employees chose the negative one.
The importance of work-life balance to your company
Work-life balance plays a vital role in employee retention. According to study, the more a business supports its employees' efforts to strike a work-life balance, the more invested they are in their work and the more money the business may generate.
Information collected by ACG
Additionally, having a work-life balance policy gives a company a competitive edge in attracting top talent because people today prioritize having a work-life balance when choosing a job. Deloitte's 2020 survey revealed that among reasons Millenials and gen Z choose to work for current organization, high salaries and learning opportunities only come in second place to work-life balance:
32% of gen Z and 39% of millennials said they chose to work for their current organization because of work-life balance culture
95% of human resources professionals, according to The survey of 614 U.S, blamed job burnout for the loss of talented workers. The study of Suifan in 2016 also found that the less employees feel they achieve work-life balance, the higher turnover intention they experience. Research by SHRM suggests that replacement costs can be as high as 50%-60% with overall costs ranging anywhere from 90%-200%. For example, if an employee makes $60,000 per year then it costs an average of $30,000 - $45,000 just to replace that employee and roughly $54,000 - $120,000 in overall losses to the company. In other words, a company can save thousands of dollars on hiring and training new staff by implementing work-life balance strategies.
6 ways to support work-life balance for your employees
Understanding the importance of work-life balance, you may wonder how you can support and implement it in your company. Here are 6 ways ACG suggest for you:
Offer flexible and remote working
The survey of Deloitte in 2020 reveals that 75% of gen Z and 79% of Millennials prefer a hybrid and remote working pattern so that they can be flexible at work. They reported having more time for doing other things, having more occasion to see their family, getting work done easier and experiencing better mental health. Therefore, providing employees the right to manage their own time would eventually enhance their productivity and task quality.
Provide Appropriate Job Demand
Decreasing in perceived job requirements will help the employees meet job expectations which serve to increase engagement in nonwork life and minimize conflict between roles in work and nonwork domains. However, to some people, challenging tasks have the potential to promote personal gain or growth, positive work–life balance, according to Braugh in 2020.
Amidst the increased workloads, longer working hours, and greater time pressures, some employees have learnt to work “smarter” through experience and time management training to achieve an acceptable level of work–life balance. Therefore, it is important to observe which person thrives better under pressure and who doesn’t to provide them with appropriate job demand.
Reconsider time off
Can you afford to give your employees additional vacation time?
Equally, restricting employees' ability to carry over vacation time or capping the number of days they can do so is another strategy to combat burnout by making them take their time off during the holiday season. The majority of team members would choose to schedule the time off over losing them.
Increase support for parents
Great employees frequently leave organizations because they can't meet their child care demands, especially mothers. Many males claim they would also like to spend more time with their children, showing that the issue is not just a problem for mothers. Make sure the working parents in your organization have a better work-life balance to prevent losing valuable knowledge.
Some businesses are unable to offer childcare services. You can, nevertheless, think of approaches to assist with childcare expenses. Additionally, regardless of gender, improved and equitable benefits for maternity, paternity, or shared parental leave will encourage all parents to manage family and employment. And think about what more you can do to provide parents with part-time jobs or job sharing.
Ask your employees for views
According to research, almost half of employees (47%) have never been asked by their employer what would make their experiences better. Only 12% of people are regularly questioned. Want to improve the work-life balance for your staff members? Inquire about them. Direct and sincere communication will bridge the gap between you and your employees as well as come up with the best solution within a short amount of time.
Acknowledge every employee is different
Many of your staff members could be frantically trying to find a better work-life balance. Others, on the other hand, could be content with the time they spend at work. Some people might prefer to start their task later and end it later as well. Others might not mind working longer shifts if it means they can unwind at home.
Some people might be keen to work part-time but just lack the confidence to broach the subject with their manager. Knowing that every employee is unique, businesses that attract and retain the greatest talent create work environments that can be customized for each individual. There won't be a solution that fits everybody if your business is serious about improving the work-life balance of its people.
Focus on productivity rather than hours
It is important for managers to concentrate on finishing a specific task rather than keeping track of the number of hours that staff members put in. Employees might have to work long hours on some days to accomplish a task, but this is balanced off by the days when they don't have to work an entire eight-hour shift.
Sirgy, M. Joseph, and Dong-Jin Lee. "Work-life balance: An integrative review." Applied Research in Quality of Life 13.1 (2018): 229-254.
Brough, Paula, et al. "Work–life balance: Definitions, causes, and consequences." Handbook of socioeconomic determinants of occupational health: From macro-level to micro-level evidence (2020): 473-487.
Greenhaus, J. H., & Allen, T. D. (2011). Work-family balance: a review and extension of the literature. In J. C. Quick & L. E. Tetrick (Eds.), Handbook of Occupational Health Psychology (2nd ed., pp. 165–183). Washington, DC: American Psychological Association.
Suifan, Taghrid S., Ayman Bahjat Abdallah, and Hannah Diab. "The influence of work life balance on turnover intention in private hospitals: The mediating role of work life conflict." European Journal of Business and Management 8.20 (2016): 126-139.
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