Finding the ideal balance between work and personal life is a common struggle among many employees, and contributes to employee retention and satisfaction. It’s something that concerns your top employees, which means it’s something you should be paying attention to as well. Here are 5 popular work-life friendly policies that you should consider adopting in your workplace in order to retain your team members.
5 Work-life friendly policies
1. Offer flexible schedules or job sharing
Offering flexible schedules allows your employees to fit life in where it happens. For example, if you employ a parent who has to pick up kids from school, they can go pick their kids up and then head back to work when they can devote 100% of their attention to it.
Flexible schedules are great for work-life balance because it allows your employees to demonstrate their time management skills and work when they’re most productive. You can give them a weekly hour requirement, or only require core hours (ie. 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. for meetings and to touch base) and give them the responsibility to get the work done if it goes past that time.
In addition to flexible schedules, consider allowing them to work from home a day or two every month. Studies show that remote employees are more productive than their in-office counterparts. Having a few days they can schedule to work from home allows them to make important events or take trips (or stay home with a sick child), with the understanding that they’re responsible for keeping their output and quality of work consistent.
2. Utilize time tracking
Time tracking gets a bad reputation, because it makes it seem like employers don’t trust employees enough with their time. However, time tracking is a great tool to understand when someone is working too much, or spending too much time on a particular task.
If you use a time tracking solution, you’re able to see at a glance who your most productive employees are so you know who to hold on to and who to put on a performance improvement plan. Your top performers will thank you for cutting the team members who don’t carry their own weight (we’ve all had those group mates who didn’t do anything). Plus you’ll be able to help employees avoid burn out by giving them well-deserved time off when they’ve been putting in extra hours.
3. Make time for physical and mental health
Work so often takes priority in life, even at the expense of your employees’ health. To avoid having a team who focuses so much on work it takes a toll on their mind and bodies, promote health initiatives. You can sponsor gym memberships or discounts, provide healthy meals, and even have monthly fitness-centered culture building events like a self defense or yoga class. Some companies have sponsored sports teams, and others take their teams on optional weekend hikes to get out of the city.
What works best for other companies may not work best for your particular team, so spend some time getting to know your employees and what type of health initiatives they’re most likely to take part in.
4. Encourage learning and development
Learning and development programs allow employees to continue to grow their skillsets, but you can use some of this budget as an opportunity to foster hobbies among your team as well. If you notice some employees struggling with what to make for office lunches, offer a healthy eating and cooking class, or bring in someone to teach a quick course on nutrition.
Making sure your employees are engaged and always learning new things goes a long way towards both retention as well as maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
5. Provide paid time off (PTO)
Paid time off can replace paid sick leave, personal days, and paid vacation. General paid time off means you trust employees to spend that time wisely, and allot it where they want. Employees won’t have to worry about how to classify the time spent off, or what requirements are needed to qualify for a sick day (ie a doctor’s note or prescription).
Giving PTO encourages employees to take a certain number of days off a year, giving them an opportunity to rest and rejuvenate. Like flexible schedules, PTO also allows your employees to handle life events such as birthday and graduation parties, any family emergencies, or handling illnesses.
Keep in mind that it’s important to lead by example if you want your employees to treat PTO as true time off. When you take time off, set up an autoresponder for your email that says you’re out of the office so your team understands it’s okay to leave their inbox alone while they’re on vacation–just make sure their autoresponder explains who to contact in case of an emergency.
In the end, there is no cookie-cutter solution that will fit every company. Consider your options carefully, know your team, and select the policies that are most likely to benefit your employees the most when it comes to work-life balance.