The past couple of years, we’ve seen it all: Hybrid. In-office. Work from home. A combination of these two or three work models.
Achieving the right work-life balance becomes more challenging even for the most proactive organizations. Before we talk about how you can help your team maintain work-life balance post-COVID, let’s talk about what work-life balance looks like now.
Work-Life Balance Post-COVID
New perspectives on time
The past 2 years have made many of us evaluate and change our priorities, values and our definition of “work-life balance.” The pandemic brought new ways of working, and employees want more flexibility and conscious control of time. It’s up to leaders to meet this new demand.
A clearer definition of “flexible work”
According to Elisa Nardi, a career development expert and CEO of Notebook Mentor, organizations need to invest time in fully understanding what “flexible work” truly means to their employees and take action immediately based on their needs.
For instance, if an employee wants to start work an hour earlier and finish an hour earlier so that they can spend their down-time doing more of what they love, companies should be open and consider this option.
Small changes like this have a way of attracting and retaining top talent. This adjustment might seem like a big deal at first, but it would be an even bigger deal down the road if that employee leaves the company and you have to hire and onboard someone new.
Money is no longer the main motivator for employees to stay in their current positions. People are realizing the importance of going after what they want and their true passions. In a 2021 survey conducted by Harris Poll, 50% of the respondents cited that they want a career change. More and more people want to take ownership of their lives, and changing their career to work for themselves or a company that will treat them better than their previous job is how they’ll do just that.
How Leaders Can Help Their Team Achieve Work-Life Balance
- Encourage your employees to sign off after work.
People can work anytime and anywhere, thanks to technology. Because of this, you should encourage your team members to sign off when they’re away from work. If you see someone sending emails during weekends or a paid day off, hold them accountable by reminding them that “sending communications outside working hours” is discouraged.
Lead by example. Leave the office at a reasonable time each day and refrain from sending emails, texts or calling outside normal working hours.
- Offer flexible working options.
Allow your team members to set work schedules that best align with their lifestyles. While remote work has gained popularity during the pandemic, you can also provide other options to help them achieve and maintain a healthy work-life balance. For example, you can offer four-day workweeks or flexible hours so they can set their own schedules.
You might also want to try reducing the usual 40 hours per week to 36 without reducing pay. In Iceland, employers experimented cutting the work hours per week to 35-36 hours without a pay cut. Not only did productivity maintain and increase, but the workers also reported improved well-being and work-life balance as a result of this shift.
- Provide and encourage time off.
Overworking is one of the leading causes of job burnout. To prevent burnout, your team members should have adequate time off to recharge and spend time on their interests outside work.
Many employees, being workaholics, don’t take their time off. Reach out to your team members who haven’t been using their time off, and—as mentioned before—lead by example and show them that you are unplugging and taking time away from work so your people are comfortable doing the same.
Most importantly, for you to truly help your team members achieve the right work-life balance, ask them what they want. Work-life balance takes many forms and can mean different things to different people, so take time to check in with your team members. Do they want flexible work hours, to work virtually or another option? Find out what matters most to them. This way you can provide the support that they really need.
Let’s continue taking care of each other and creating the best versions of our lives.
In love and respect,