Business Tips··5 min read

6 Work Life Balance Initiatives that Actually Work [GUIDE]

6 Work Life Balance Initiatives that Actually Work [GUIDE]

From offering unlimited PTO to providing ping pong tables in the break room – evaluating various work life balance initiatives is a common point of discussion in headlines and boardrooms worldwide.

And while there are many work life balance tips for employers out there, there are few that achieve real results when implemented. Here is a closer look at the importance of work life balance along with 6 practical work life balance initiatives that actually work.

Key Takeaways

  • Effective recognition of employee achievements boosts morale and motivation.
  • High stress and sickness rates in the workplace often indicate poor management practices.
  • Frequent employee turnover suggests a lack of support and poor management within the company.
  • Ignoring company issues can cause long-term damage to business performance and reputation.
  • Micromanagement decreases job satisfaction and undermines employee productivity.

The Importance of Work Life Balance

Striking the right balance between an individual’s personal and professional life is critical to their life-long happiness and fulfilment. Unlike a piece of machinery, humans need to rest, relax, socialize, and be entertained – and they need to be able to fit all of these activities in alongside their busy work schedule.

If this doesn’t happen, many employees run the risk of becoming stressed or experiencing burnout. This, in turn, can ultimately have a negative impact on an employee’s productivity at work.

To prevent this from happening, employers can promote policies and initiatives to facilitate a healthy work life balance. Here is a closer look at 6 different initiatives that have been successful within companies across the world.

6 Work Life Balance Initiatives

1. Offer a Work from Home Scheme

The dreaded commute, hectic office environments, and endless interruptions – employees are often less productive at work simply because they have too much going on.

Offering a work from home scheme is one of the best ways to combat this while also facilitating a good work home life balance. While it may not be possible to work from home all the time, allowing employees to work from home once or twice a week can significantly enhance employee well-being and productivity.

To ensure a work from home scheme is successful:

  • Make sure that employees have the right tools and equipment to work from home.
  • Create the right tech stack allowing teams to remain collaborative and accountable to each other.
  • Make sure management does not pin those who work from home as ‘lazy’ or ‘underperforming’.
  • Foster a culture that values transparency, openness, and honesty.
  • Establish regular ‘check-ins’ with work from home employees to ensure they feel connected with their team.

2. Utilize Flexible Scheduling

The days of a strict 9-5 workday are over, and one of the most successful work life balance strategies is to allow for flexible schedules.

Many companies execute this strategy by creating a window of time where the office is open, and then letting employees decide when they want to come to work and when they want to leave. As long as they work a full day within that time window, employees are free to come and go as they please. Typically, this time window is between 7 am to 7 pm.

This type of policy allows employees to feel a sense of control over their time, and it also lets them work when they are most productive. Additionally, by allowing a later start and a later finish time, employees can better coordinate when they can drop their kids off for school, participate in a morning exercise class, or check in on an elderly relative.

3. Set Clear Boundaries

Even though remaining flexible is important, balancing work and life also requires clear boundaries as well.

Especially with smartphone technologies that enable people to be ‘on-call’ almost 24/7, it is now more important than ever to clarify to employees that just because they can check their email in the evenings, that doesn’t mean they have to.

Some clear boundaries that employers can make are:

  • Ensuring clients and customers know what windows and time they can expect to be communicated with.
  • Informing employees that they are not required to respond to texts or emails outside of working hours.
  • Denying employee access to office spaces in the evenings and weekends.
  • Requiring employees to leave their work phones or computers at the office when leaving on vacation.

4. Offer Unlimited PTO

Of all of the work life balance initiatives, offering unlimited paid vacation time is one of the most discussed and controversial. And while it may sound like an impossible suggestion, it can actually be one of the best ways to not only promote a healthy work life balance, but to also cultivate long-term employee trust and loyalty.

Unlimited vacation time policies typically do involve some boundaries and constraints, though. Many companies will only allow unlimited PTO to employees if certain conditions have been met – for example, their work for the week/month is completed or they have been with the company for a certain amount of time.

5. Provide Family-Friendly Policies and Services

Whether it’s caring for a sick relative or raising children, your employees have important priorities outside of work. And for many families, achieving the perfect work-family balance is a constant challenge and point of stress.

To make striking this balance easier on your employees, try to incorporate more family-friendly policies and services into your overall work life balance strategy.

In practice, this could look like:

  • Offering on-site childcare and/or after school programs
  • Allowing flexibility with schedules around school drop-off/pick-up times
  • Hosting a ‘bring your child to work’ day
  • Allowing the option to work from home for those taking care of sick relatives

6. Promote Opportunities for Health and Wellness

When employees are overworked, oftentimes their physical and mental health can suffer. This is not only bad for the individual, but it can impact productivity, absenteeism, and in the long term, turnover.

Successful work life balance programs should incorporate ways for employees to stay fit and healthy so that they do not experience burnout.

In practice, this could include:

  • Providing free access to fitness facilities (either on or off-site)
  • Offering incentives for cycling or walking to work
  • Creating an onsite relaxation/meditation room
  • Offering healthier and/or more vegetarian options at the cafeteria
  • Providing free flu shots
  • Providing extra training for managing stress and mental health at work

Learn More

Need ideas for enhancing work culture? Explore our Work Environment and Culture section for tips on building a supportive and dynamic workplace.

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