A Broken Work/Life Balance Hurts Your Business Too

January 28th, 2015 | Articles, Hiring Resources | No Comments »

Work Life Balance2

We expect long-term, direct hires to be a clear cultural fit. Yet once we find them, are we providing these professionals with a work culture that respects their space? Maybe not, if we neglect work/life balance.

At least 61% of employees admittedly do some work while on vacation according to Glassdoor. Gallup found that 33% of employees feel their managers expect them to check work emails after hours. The barriers between our work and personal worlds have drastically dissolved and the culprit is sitting in employee’s pockets and purses right now.

Digital Technology Blurs the Line

Modern technology has made it far too easy to keep plugged in 24×7. Smartphones remove barriers to when and where work can encroach into our personal time. Cloud storage and virtual servers tempt employees to keep tweaking projects long after they’ve clocked out for the day. What’s worse for employers is that employees’ attentions are torn between two different points, giving neither its full due.

Contrary to common belief, most of us cannot multi-task. Stanford research show people who regularly multi-task are terrible at a variety of cognitive tests. When employees work outside of the office, they are attempting to split their attention between work responsibilities and what’s going on in their lives. It can lead to mistakes that cost global businesses $450 billion each year.

Time Away from the Office Recharges Employees

Additionally, a lack of time away from work can rob your company of the creative innovations that come from having a fresh mind. Time outside of the office allows employees to clear their heads, freshen their perspective, and recharge their batteries for the next work day. Yet plenty of Americans aren’t taking advantage of that value.

Take a look at used vacation hours. On average, U.S. employees do not use 3.2 of their given vacation days every year. There are short-term gains in productivity, but overall morale takes a hit and employee turnover increases. Regular use of vacation time allows employees to return “more dedicated, productive, satisfied, and healthy.”

Time away from work sees that return on a smaller scale. A strong work/life balance in general helps to keep your employees from turning to other companies that won’t expend their energies so quickly.

Getting Back to a Work/Life Balance

So, what do we do to create a better work/life balance? There are few methods that can get the ball rolling in the right direction.

Refrain from sending emails after hours, unless it’s an utter emergency. If the position is on-call, ensure your team has rotation to keep them feeling fresh.

If they’re working off the clock on their own, find the root cause. Typically, they’re doing it for one of two reasons: their workload is too much or their time management skills need improvement. An overburdened workload only requires a little redistribution or hiring a new employee.

Poor time management skills require a bit more effort. Reach out to the employee, learn what’s holding them back, and develop a plan to get them on the right track. It will keep them loyal knowing that you’re willing to help them make personal gains.

by James Walsh

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