Work/life balance is a phrase that gets discussed a lot these days, with everyone searching for the perfect way to walk the tightrope between being successful on the job and taking enough time for self and family. Is the concept overrated, however? Does work/life balance really matter, or is it simply a trendy concept that gets tossed around as an excuse to work less? And what’s different about work/life balance for industrial workers?
The Science Behind Work/Life Balance for Industrial Workers
Serious discussions about work/life balance have been going on for many years, with a researcher for the Business Information Review looking into the issue back in 2005. The research showed that employees who have a better work/life balance feel more valued, are more motivated, more productive, and less stressed. Employers who value this balance in their worker’s lives attract a wider range of qualified candidates, retain the best employees, and achieve reduced labor costs by maximizing their available labor.
Because humans are central to the future of work, it makes sense that having a workforce that feels less stressed and more valued will be more productive and loyal. Here are strategies that industrial employers should consider to help their employees create a better work/life balance.
More Responsibility at Work
As ironic as it may seem, one way to help a stellar employee with their work/life balance is to see if they’re willing to take on greater responsibility at work. One source of stress both at work and at home is concern about career path and feeling that a job is going nowhere. Especially in this era of staffing shortages, it’s important to keep employees feeling engaged and happy. If you have an employee who would do well in a leadership role, it will give greater meaning to the time they spend at work if they can make the best use of their skills.
Better Relationships with Management
Another source of workplace stress is poor communication with leadership. Work/life balance is about creating enough space for time outside of work, but it’s also about making every hour spent in the workplace feel more valuable and less stressful. With this in mind, it’s essential for management to focus on opening up the channels of communication with their employees. This means being clear and specific about expectations, deadlines, and employee feedback.
With good communication and more transparency in the workplace, employees will better understand exactly what’s expected of them and be more willing to open up about any issues they’re experiencing that may be impacting their job. By eliminating any worries or concerns that employees may carry with them when they are not working, you’ll help them be more clear-headed and prepared to do an exceptional job.
Time to Enjoy Life Outside of Work
With their purpose and direction at work firmly secured, your employees will enjoy life more in their off-hours. You can help accommodate this by making sure they have regularly scheduled days off and for full-time employees, paid vacation time.
In addition to this, consider offering employees some type of exercise access — whether it’s a paid gym membership or access to a company workout facility. As little as 30 minutes of daily exercise before or after work can keep employees healthier and cut down their stress levels.
Greater Control Over Their Working Lives
Another way employers help their workers achieve a better work/life balance is by giving them greater control over their working lives. Flexible work scheduling is an excellent solution that can help eliminate stress and promote greater enjoyment of time off. While working remotely isn’t typically an option for industrial jobs, employers might offer flexible daily hours or the option to work a compressed schedule. This kind of flexibility can help cut down on time spent commuting as well as money spent on childcare.
When working to improve work/life balance, the goal for every employer should be that their employees have ample time off and the peace of mind to enjoy that free time. By empowering their workers in their job roles and their scheduling, improving communication, and offering benefits such as vacation time and exercise access, employers will reap the benefit of happier, healthier, more productive employees.