It’s something we hear all the time, it’s something that doesn’t appear to be going away and it’s something nobody really understands how to get right.
Work Life Balance
We are more than aware that, with changes in technology, the edges of the working day are getting blurred. We take our work with us into our home, down the pub and with us when we go to bed.
And we do not stop there, we take our online social life to work with us.
In late 2016, a year arguably of divisive news, the news landed that the French government had passed a new law that employers of more than 50 employees must draw up a charter setting out when workers should and should not send emails. This sparked much debate around work-life balance and how much responsibility for this sat with the employer and with the government.
So, let’s start with why anyone has a responsibility. According to the Mental Health Foundation:
The pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture in the UK is perhaps the biggest and most pressing challenge to the mental health of the general population
Physical wellbeing has been on the agenda for many organisations for quite a while now. However mental or psychological wellbeing is now more important than ever and it’s no longer enough to just offer an Employee Assistance Programme where employees can get some basic advice on the end of the phone.
But mental wellbeing is not just about products you can buy in as part of your wellbeing offering, it’s also about:
- How your employees work
- When they work
- How they interact at work
- How they get the balance between a workplace which is no longer a place to go and leave but which travels around with you.
So what can you as an employer do?
If organisations do not operate a strict nine-to-five working day in their business, and want a culture of flexibility then they may need to do something that does not come easy to all employers.
First, they are going to need to empower their employees to make their own decisions, where possible, on working time.
Second, start to manage people based on outputs not on how many hours they are sat at their desk.
Third, they need to let their people know that it is okay to turn off the work phone and put down the laptop, and most importantly lead on this by example (while also demonstrating the freedoms of point one).
Empowering and educating
At Cloud9 People we help employers develop their employees so they can get to grips with the concept of work life balance and why it is important for them and for their employers.
We do this by breaking down time into manageable and understandable chunks and by looking at one day and discussing the finite time employees have available to them each day we start employees and employers having conversations about where time is spent and what sacrifices are made should you need to increase the time allotted to any activity (If you work for 10 hours then the employee will have to choose between reducing sleep or social time) and how do businesses ensure that they are recognising this and putting appropriate balance in place. (This could be financial or giving time back)
We can do this in conjunction with leadership training or team building days, where employees feel that they have had a say in the culture of the company it is proven that it more likely to be sustainable.
Or we do this with direct coaching on a 1 to 1 basis where the individual needs help with how they tackle this.
Work Life Balance
This blog was written by Nick Court and was also published in part in Employee Benefits Magazine February 2017 issue and can be seen here
Or contact Nick directly on firstname.lastname@example.org
At Cloud9 People we help all sizes of companies look at how they can add value to their people conversations, feel free to get in touch and see how we could help you.