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How a Better Work-Life Balance Boosts Productivity (And How to Make It Happen)
April 23, 2018
Better-Work-Life-Balance

How a Better Work-Life Balance Boosts Productivity (And How to Make It Happen)

Today’s professionals are no longer satisfied with the corporate model of a rigid 9-to-5, which typically consists of spending eight hours at the office, only to face traffic on the commute home, followed by responding to emails as they make dinner. They prioritize and expect flexibility, balance, and downtime in their careers. Still, 38 percent of employees have missed life events because of bad work-life balance, according to a Workfront report.

The good news is that improving work-life balance is good for you as a business owner, and your employees. For example, taking intermittent “brain breaks” throughout the workday can boost performance by an average of 34 percent, according to a recent remote work survey. Just a quick pause to decompress for 20 minutes can re-energize the mind and body for a fresh perspective on the task at hand.

If you’re looking to increase employee output, integrate a work-life balance in your company culture. Job satisfaction will increase, and you’ll reap the following benefits of that growth.

Improved Engagement and Loyalty

Giving your team the freedom to structure their own time will communicate that you trust and value them. Employees who are treated as people who have lives outside the office – not just workers boosting your bottom-line – are more likely to feel engaged and invested in the organization.

This concept is known as the social exchange theory, explains Joe Robinson, business leader and expert on the work-life balance paradigm. Joe says that the social exchange theory occurs when an organization provides something that benefits the employee, and in turn the employee responds by working harder and becoming even more committed to the company. Therefore, if you want to get more out of your employees, you should first allow them to have a healthy, flexible work-life balance.

Improved Retention Rate

The cost of employee turnover, and then re-hiring for the position, is expensive. Not to mention, when an employee decides to quit, their vacancy causes a loss of productivity until someone else takes over the role. Retaining your staff mitigates both financial strain and lack of efficiency, so it’s necessary to create an environment where people are stimulated, not stressed.

In fact, research from TINYpulse shows that a positive emphasis on work-life balance increases organization-wide retention by 12 percent!

Reduced Burn-Out Rates

Although working overtime is often considered the norm, especially with the advent of smartphones, employees who check and respond to work emails after hours are at risk for stress-induced health concerns. The physical and mental impact of bringing the office tension home can also decrease productivity.

It may sound counter-intuitive, but research from Stanford University found that those who crank out more than 40 hours a week get less done than people who don’t overexert themselves. Giving employees the space to disengage from the workplace means lower anxiety and a higher performance.

How to Promote Balance

It’s clear that providing employees with the tools they need to maintain better work-life balance has a positive effect on your staff and the business as a whole. But the question remains: how can you make this part of your existing company culture? Here are some actionable steps that can help you answer that question:

  • Remind employees that you’re all in this together, and that balance requires effort from all parties.For example, Sally Strebel of Pagely explains, “If it’s a child’s birthday, we hope our Pagely team member spends the day with their kiddo. If someone has a baby, we offer parental leave. Our team understands that they may need to pick up the slack while someone is on paternity leave but they also know that the favor will be returned.”
  • Create boundaries with employees through resisting the urge to text them about a work-related matter outside the office. Don’t respond, unless absolutely necessary, until the next morning if they contact you after-hours with a similar issue.
  • Allow employees to negotiate their own agendas that accommodate for demands in their personal lives. For instance, allow them to work extended hours Monday to Thursday so that they can take Friday off, or let them come in earlier and leave in the afternoon to pick their children up from school.
  • Provide employees with onsite outlets for recharging, like encouraging short breaks throughout the date, creating designated “quiet spaces,” or access to the building’s gym, suggest experts at Pingboard.

Making work-life balance a priority is as good for employees as it is for your business. Keep these tips in mind as you build a healthier workplace that’s also more productive.

Fora Financial

Editorial Note: Any opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the author's alone, and have not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Jessica Thiefels has been writing and editing for more than 10 years and is now a full-time writer and consultant. She's been featured on Forbes and has written for a wide variety of sites, including RetailNext, Virgin, Manta, StartupNation and more. Follow her on Twitter and connect on LinkedIn.
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