Life is one big balancing act and, with a quarter of UK professionals admitting they’re unhappy with their work life balance, here at Employee Motivation Day (EMD) we believe it’s highly important that we all work together to address this issue.
Luckily for us all, National Work Life Week (NWLW) is taking place from the 3rd to the 7th of October with the aim of raising awareness of this pressing problem, and helping both employees and employers across the UK strike the perfect work life balance.
Though research has shown that job enjoyment is considered the most important factor when choosing a new job, work life balance features third on the list, with salary being viewed as second most important. With work life balance factoring relatively low on the priority agenda, it’s little wonder that so many of us are suffering from the effects it can have upon our lives.
With advancements in technology and the rise of the smartphone it has become almost impossible for us to ‘switch off’ at the end of the working day, with one in four of us not being able to resist checking work emails from home and even having work-related dreams at the weekend while we should be enjoying our free time.
If we’re going to create positive change, employers need to find ways to help even out the scales when it comes to their employees’ work and home life, and National Work Life Week provides the ideal opportunity to do just that.
EMD’s top tips for a happy and healthy workforce:
Promote flexible working
A CIPD report on flexible working revealed that 73% of employers noticed a marked improvement in employee motivation levels when flexible working practices were implemented. Allowing employees to work from home or work outside of the traditional 9-5 hours can allow for a better work life balance and also increase productivity levels. Though we understand that many organisations may find it difficult to be able to implement such measures, it is certainly worth exploring as an option.
Encourage staff to leave on time
With the UK’s deep-rooted ‘long hours culture’, employers need to step up and encourage their employees to leave the office on time as often as possible. This could mean a shake-up of working practices to allow more time to complete duties, or an evaluation of daily tasks to trim down to-do lists. Either way, allowing employees to spend the intended amount of time at home with their families will promote higher levels of motivation and health.
Can you believe a third of UK workers don’t take their full annual holiday allowance? This incredibly high proportion of employees are worried about taking too much time off, fearing for job security and workloads not being completed. Employers need to reassure their staff that holidays are there to be taken, and that workloads can be distributed among the team where necessary. After all, not taking holidays now only leads to absence through sickness later on.
Host an event to highlight NWLW
Lack of awareness is a big factor in perpetuating this unhealthy working culture. The folks at NWLW and we at EMD recommend employers host an event in the workplace to highlight the issues and to find ways to work together in solving them. Why not hold a lunchtime workshop to function as a sounding board of sorts, and encourage employees to voice any concerns and share ideas for improvement? Extra tip: free food goes a long way here.
We want to hear all about what you’re getting up to at your company during this year’s National Work Life Week. Share your thoughts, photos and videos with us at @NatMotivateDay and don’t forget to use NWLW’s hashtag #timetorebalance.