A safe working environment and fair pay are always on high on the list of priorities for today's workforce, but now managers have a new challenge to meet: helping their workers achieve a healthy work-life balance. But as tech blurs the lines between work and play, it can be difficult to draw boundaries between the two.
Here's how some of the more innovative companies make it happen, and why it's in your best interest to embrace the best of both worlds.
What's in it for Me?
It's no one's business how an employee spends their day outside of work, but unfortunately, unhealthy habits at home can seep into the workplace. Feeling overwhelmed at work not only lowers productivity, but can cause an overall decrease in a worker's level of career satisfaction. Experts have discovered that flexible working systems may result in healthier outcomes in older workers, decreasing the prevalence of heart disease and mental stress.
That may be why more companies, such as defense technology and cybersecurity company Raytheon, have focused their hiring efforts to celebrate the perks that encourage balance. From parental leave to transportation assistance, the company has positioned itself to be part of the support structure that creates a less stressful lifestyle.
How To Encourage Work-Life Balance
Each company has a unique workforce, but there are plenty of tried-and-true benefits that are gaining traction in all kinds of offices across America.
Employees who feel stressed or overworked may choose to skip lunch to get that last-minute report finished. By providing healthy snacks and nutritious, free meals (even on occasion), you're telling your employees that you care about their health by setting a good example to prioritize the fuel that will get them through the day. It's worked for Google: Their free food keeps employees closer to the office — a practice that is credited for much of the natural collaboration that occurs there.
Fitness for Everyone
While workplaces have been doing "fitness challenges" and weight-loss competitions for decades, these types of programs can feel inaccessible to the casual participant or someone with less exercise experience. Encourage everyone to get into the game by adapting work spaces to include ergonomic furniture, such as a standing desk or a desk bike. Demonstrate how easy it is to get in your steps while checking email, and give points toward rewards to those who meet certain milestones.
Allow Remote Work
Employees crave independence, and your best workers should be rewarded for managing their time effectively. Nothing does this better than allowing for a flexible, remote work arrangement. Even if you can only spare one out-of-office day per week, make it count. Working from home can motivate your most trusted teammates to do more with their time, and it improves loyalty among employees. Omaha Steak decided to open up their seasonal worker pool to at-home employees this year, and are hiring 4,000 remote customer reps for Q4 2018.
Focus on Earned Perks
Many of the best compensation packages include benefits that encourage work-life balance. The problem comes when employees don't feel comfortable taking them — or worse, don't know about them. Whether you offer a standing desk, flexible sick leave or bonus vacation time for anniversary years, you can't expect your most motivated workers to cash in incentives without a little nudge.
Train your HR departments and management to recognize when too much vacation time has accrued. If necessary, enforce a "use it or lose it" policy, and make sure employees know why taking time off is important — not only for productivity, but for their physical and mental health.