The Importance of Work-Life Harmony
We live in a technologically oriented society that has led to people developing an “always on” mentality. This has further resulted in an obsession with monitoring and responding to communications promptly and it has also impacted the way some businesses operate. The pandemic and working remotely has further blurred the lines between working and private life. Individuals struggle to distinguish between ‘work time’ and ‘me time,’ and the need to respond to messages is one of the leading causes of work seeping into personal life and disrupting the work-life balance.
Employees and employers can make phone calls, access and react to emails 24/7 and they often have access to files and documents no matter where they are in the world. While this may appear to increase productivity on the surface, it can in fact have the opposite effect due to the poor impact on employee mental and physical health.
This year, the Alliance for Action for Work-Life Harmony formed a group to promote work-life harmony in Singapore. New initiatives are being published to help companies implement ways in which they can help employees adopt a healthier approach to work and life. A work-life balance has two particularly noteworthy advantages with far-reaching effects that benefit both the employee and the organization.
- Happy, Healthy Employees: Employees who work all the time experience conflict in their personal relationships, negative physical and mental health, and they are at a higher risk of burnout. Fatigue, mood fluctuations, impatience, a drop in work performance, and an increase in absenteeism are all symptoms of prolonged stress. This not only costs the employee their health, but it has adverse effects on business operations. Happy, healthy employees have higher rates of productivity and energy levels, they make less mistakes, are more alert, and more motivated to help the company achieve its goals.
- Employee Retention: Work-life balance is critical for attracting and retaining top employees in any organization. Employees are more inspired when they are well-supported in managing both their work and personal lives, which in turn improves productivity and performance. As a result, organizations that successfully adopt work-life balance will be able to retain valued employees and attract new talent in the long run.
What Companies Can Do
Business owners and HR personnel have a significant influence on their employees’ acceptance and implementation of innovative work-life policies and should consider the following steps to effectively adopt work-life balance strategies:
1. Recognize that employees have diverse work-life needs
At different periods of their life, employees have varied goals and needs. Organizations should begin by knowing the profile of their workforce and the accompanying work-life needs in order to successfully serve their employees. This also assists managers in making better judgments on the work-life practices that are most beneficial to the organization, as well as ensuring that the requirements of various employees are met.
Having open engagement channels with senior management allows employees to freely express their needs and concerns. It also helps them to gain a greater understanding of the company’s objectives and expectations, and how they may better contribute to the organization. Mutual understanding and support between a company and its employees strengthens bonds and cultivates employee loyalty and support.
If employees know how they can effectively satisfy work demands and the employers know how to meet the needs of the employee’s personal life, it fosters an environment of value, respect, and impassions employees to meaningfully particpate within the company.
2. Identify and adopt plans for work-life balance
Once the organization has a thorough grasp of the employees’ profiles and the diverse work demands of the various roles and tasks within the company, they can identify ways to support their employees better. There are several work-life initiatives that can employed for different roles:
- Leverage the use of technology for remote working
- Offer flexible working hours and staggered shifts for on-site workers
- Offer time off in lieu of pay for any overtime to ensure employees get enough rest
- Establish reasonable communication expectations after-hours
- Implement a healthy and well-being strategy that includes breaks away from the desk, healthy snack options, workstation assessments to minimize physical strain, and access to support channels are just some ideas to consider.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to achieving work-life balance in the workplace. Work-life assistance that satisfies the needs of employees and business operations must be understood and provided by organizations. Employers may need to be creative and think outside the box to achieve this.
3. A supportive, trusting environment encourages work-life balance
Some employees may not want to participate in work-life balance initiatives offered by their companies for various reasons. The employee may be concerned their output will suffer as a result or perhaps the employee isn’t confident to request and embrace work-life balance measures in fear of retaliation or judgement from their bosses or coworkers.
Therefore, it’s critical to foster trust between employees and their managers. Put in place fair and transparent assessment methods that are objective and performance-based, with well-defined metrics to nurture a healthy workplace culture. When managers demonstrate their commitment to work-life balance by adopting these practices, it sets a tone that encourages employees and offers a strong sense of support within the workplace.
Business leaders must adapt their methods in response to the fast-changing nature of the workplace and people expectations on how work and personal lives should intersect. Implementing and maintaining work-life harmony strategies is an investment that will pay off in the long run by ensuring the well-being of employees as well as the long-term success of an organization.
Work Smarter and Faster
Organizations with quality-of-life programs emphasize time management regarding both professional and personal lives. When employees focus on their core tasks and their strengths, it gives more purpose and meaning to work and improves efficiency.
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