2022 with rising inflation and a cost-of-living crisis has put pressure on employers to increase wages and starting salaries.   However, it appears there is another aspect of working that employees may value just as highly as pay – a work-life balance.

HR and payroll software provider CIPHR recently surveyed 1,000 UK workers about which job aspects matter most to them. The results show over two-thirds (70% of women and 65% of men) see work-life balance – albeit a term that can mean different things to different people – as being more important than their pay and employee benefits combined.

The report reveals the top 4 most important aspects of a job, ranked by popularity, as:

  1. Work-life balance (67%)
  2. Pay and benefits – total rewards package (59%)
  3. Job security (57%)
  4. Job satisfaction (53%)

A full analysis of the survey findings can be viewed here

Managing work-life balance as an employer

Since the pandemic it has become even more important to create a good work-life balance in your workplace. There are proven benefits to productivity when you get this balance right.  Finding and hiring people in the current job market is difficult and working hours that offer a good balance are increasingly important.

As the employer, you want to make sure your team are motivated to do their jobs well.

Hybrid and remote working have impacted different people in different ways;   for some, it has become easier to do more of what they love by being at home more, but for others being at home makes it more difficult to switch off at the end of the day.

If work-life balance is a core part of your company working your employees will be happier and more productive, but remember:

  • flexibility is key as one size does not fit all, and
  • changes to domestic circumstances can mean what creates a good balance for an individual may also change.

Showing employees you value their time away from work as much as their time at work, can help help boost motivation and productivity.  Improving the balance means when employees spend time away from work doing things they enjoy, they return to work, refreshed and ready to go – that’s the theory.

How can a poor work-life balance impact your employee’s mental health and personal life?

The always-on nature of the digital age means it can be hard to put work aside after the working day has finished, leaving employees vulnerable to burnout.

Employers who have poor work-life balance structures in the workplace can affect their employees’ mental, and physical health.  This can sometimes cause a negative impact in the employees personal life placing them under additional mental strain.   Poor employee mental and physical health can have a direct and detrimental impact on productivity and performance. It can lead to increased absenteeism or presenteeism, and cause harm to your business.

Work-life balance tips for employers

Here are some tips on how to help you and your employees get the benefit from a good work life balance.

  • Speak to employees about how the current balance affects them.
  • Identify, with them, any obvious opportunities to improve the balance.
  • Encourage employees to take breaks away from the screen/desk/shop floor
  • Introduce or improve break areas.
  • Give your employees adequate time off so that they don’t burnout
  • Encourage them to take time off rather than carrying over holiday time.
  • Regularly review the workloads of your employees so each one has a manageable load and can do their job to the best of their ability.
  • Think about the introduction of volunteer days where employees can take a day’s extra holiday if they spend it volunteering.
  • Introduce wellness breaks or time off and encourage employees to spend it doing something they enjoy.
  • Periodically allow employees to finish early.
  • Be flexible on working hours (i.e., times when staff can start and finish).
  • Consider flexible benefits such as salary sacrifice to purchase additional holidays.

The key to success is striking a balance and using open communication.  Any changes made must take business needs into account, but even small changes can have a hugely positive impact on your employees.   For information and guidance on Managing Work-life balance as an employer and other HR topics please contact Solution22 – HR Consultancy Services or telephone 020 7549 1634 and ask to speak to Helen Ash.