In today’s job market, companies are having to take extra steps to stay ahead of their competition. Prospective employees have more options than ever and are often already employed.
Now more than ever, employees are valuing jobs that support their ability to lead a healthy lifestyle. The Randstad 2019 employer global report found that the demand for employers that support a healthy work-life balance has steadily risen since 2015 and now sits above job security.
Building a work environment that supports a healthy work-life balance and encourages employees to take care of themselves outside of work may sound like a daunting ask for an employer. Here are three ideas to get you started.
Consider a shortened work week
There’s a recent study going around that’s gotten a lot of media coverage—for good reason. Microsoft’s subsidiary in Japan did an experiment over the summer to investigate what would happen to productivity if they cut their work week from five to four days a week. The result was a 40% spike in productivity from the same month of the previous year.
Take a moment to let that sink in.
Employees were given less time to accomplish their duties and more time to focus on their personal lives and the result was a massive increase in productivity for the company. Not to mention the savings they had from decreased electricity usage (down almost a quarter from the previous year) as well as a decreased use in office supplies.
Talk about a win-win for both employees and employers.
This may not be a model that works for your company, but don’t worry! There are other ways to offer employees greater personal control over work hours.
While remote working options have taken a huge rise in mainstream economy, it doesn’t work for a lot of people for a variety of reasons. Flex time, however, offers employees greater flexibility for the hours they work without having them work at home.
Often, flex-schedules revolve around a set number of hours that are agreed upon, allowing employees to control what time they begin and end their workdays. Companies that offer flex-schedules often have set hours during the day or week where all employees are required to be at the office, allowing for easier scheduling and promoting collaboration.
Employees with children or family members in their care are able to make work schedules that allow them to run errands, drop children off at school, or take someone to a doctor appointment.
The easier you can make it for employees to work for you, the less stressed out they’ll be. And the less stressed out your employees are, the more likely they won’t call out of work. (Which, by the way, contributes to over half of all the lost working days in a year.)
Purchasing a benefits package for your employees can be incredibly expensive and isn’t an option for most small business owners. But that doesn’t mean you can’t provide employee perks that encourage self-care.
Consider getting rid of those beanbags no one ever sits in, and instead, offer perks that encourage employees to take time to nurture themselves.
Providing your employees with a gift certificate for a massage every quarter or offering a sponsored gym membership are great examples. If you can, try putting together a number of options for employees to choose from.
When you offer employees a variety of perks and let them choose which is best for them, you’re contributing to a great employee experience. Offering choices increases the chance they’ll use it, allows you to give them autonomy, and helps personalize the work experience.
You can even take this a step further and create opportunities for team building and development around fun, recreational activities. Just be sure you select activities that are accessible to everyone in your office for it to be a team morale booster.
Encouraging your employees to take care of themselves, to prioritize their mental, physical, and emotional health not only shows that you value them as individuals, but that you recognize a healthy employee is a good employee. Talk about a good loyalty-builder!
It’s good for everyone
Work-related stress can cause literal death, but it also contributes to lower engagement, lower productivity, and lower job satisfaction. Having stressed out employees does no good for anyone.
So whatever it is your company does to help, be it increased flexibility, decreased hours, or a free massage every few months, make sure your company is doing something. You’ll nurture trust, loyalty, and engagement in your employees.
Plus, it’s just the right thing to do. Care for them, and they’ll care for you.
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Photo by ammentorp