Balancing your complex work schedule with this week’s sick child, next week’s doctor’s appointment and (seemingly neverending) home repairs isn’t for the faint of heart. But since the dawn of time—or at least since the birth of the 9-to-5 job—employees have been attempting to achieve work-life balance with varying degrees of success.
The 2017 Workplace Benefits Report released by Bank of America Merrill Lynch found that 59 percent of millennials worry about finding a career that supports their ideal lifestyle—quite the opposite of how baby boomers approached work a few decades back. In fact, Forbes reports that millennials care more about juggling their personal and professional lives than any previous generation.
Why Workers Need Work-Life Balance
Experts agree that maintaining a work-life balance reduces stress, prevents burnout and can keep stress-related conditions at bay, such as high blood pressure, heart problems, and digestive issues. This balance can also help with managing depression, insomnia and anxiety.
What’s more, when workers achieve this balance, they’re able to create a more pleasing distance between their career and their home life, making room for friends, family, hobbies and relaxation.
How Can HR Help Employees Find Balance?
When employees enjoy an adequate work-life balance, it can have a positive domino effect on your whole organization—workplace productivity typically increases, money is often saved and more of an emphasis is placed on wellness. And when your workforce is healthy and happy, it can do wonders for recruiting (as well as retaining) top talent.
It’s not always simple for workers to achieve a proper balance between their professional and personal lives, but there are several strategies that can make it easier. Here are five ways in which your HR department can help.
1. Offer Robust Flexibility
According to The Hartford’s Millennial Parenthood Survey, 97 percent of millennials want flexibility in their work hours. Offering perks that allow workers to design their schedules—like being able to craft personalized calendars and having the option to leave early during the summer—can go a long way toward creating balance! Your organization may also want to look into allowing staff to work remotely, as this can benefit workers with long commutes and those who have young children.
2. Provide Thoughtful Remote Opportunities
A recent Upwork survey found that nearly two-thirds of companies have remote employees, and the number is only growing. Many millennials feel that remote work leads to a more natural work-life balance, and, in turn, frequently request it. While not every position is eligible, it’s a good idea to draft a thoughtful remote policy.
If you implement a trial remote policy, be sure to keep it flexible and decide which positions can be remote. Consider offering all employees one remote day a week, if possible. The gates have been opened for a remote worker groundswell—and rather than fight against it, HR would be served well by removing the padlock.
3. Consider Unlimited or Discretionary PTO
Companies like LinkedIn and Netflix are leading the way in offering unlimited PTO. But despite its appeal, America is largely a nation of come-to-work-sick and skip-vacation employees.
The U.S. Travel Association reports that 52 percent of American workers left vacation days on the table in 2017. This means your organization’s HR department needs more than just a discretionary time off policy on paper—it must encourage a culture of rest, family time and vacation. Unlimited PTO with a tracking element goes one step better, which sets a minimum number of days employees must take each quarter for self-care.
4. Devise Appropriate Employee Assistance Programs
Workplace intervention programs that are designed to assist employees with personal problems—such as financial, marital or family matters—can help HR departments illustrate how home life affects work life, and vice versa. Employee assistance programs also help team members acknowledge the need for self-care, support, recognition of burnout and overall wellness.
5. Observe Additional Holidays
Giving employees extra days off—such as Black Friday, Christmas Eve and Labor Day—is a perk that shows the workforce that your organization values family, and has team members’ backs when it matters most. Through these efforts, HR can boost company morale and loyalty, while paving the way for employees to achieve work-life balance.
Looking for more ways to promote wellness at work? Check out benefit plans on United Concordia Dental’s website that your colleagues are sure to love.