According to Statista, the U.S. workforce works about 3.9 billion hours in total per year. And according to a National Safety Council (NSC) survey, two-thirds of the US labor force suffer from workplace fatigue. This means that occupational fatigue affects nearly 107 million of the 160 million US workers.
It’s no surprise that by the time we get back from work, all we want to do is watch TV and sleep. There’s often no energy or time left to do anything else, such as hobbies or hanging out with friends and family. For working parents, there’s also kids to be picked up from school, dinner to be prepared for the family, bedtime routines to be performed, and lunches to be prepped for the next day. Factor in dish duty, laundry and other household chores and it’s the recipe for feeling overwhelmed.
The demands from work and home have quickly added up — resulting in a burnout crisis for companies. Nearly 23 percent of 7,500 full-time employees surveyed said they feel burned out at work often or always, according to a Gallup study. An additional 44 percent of employees said they felt burned out sometimes. Burnout has become so prevalent that the Word Health Organization has recognized it as an “occupational phenomenon”.
Make work-life balance something you not only talk about but also practice at all levels of the organization. Learn how to improve work life balance for employees.
Find out how to identify the people who feel burned out — and how to use that data to formulate work life balance strategies for employers.
The Implications of Workplace Burnout
It’s often difficult for managers to tell if their employees are struggling with work-life balance — until it’s too late. Unfortunately, 66% of full-time employees in the U.S. do not believe they have good work-life balance. This drives home the point that work life balance strategies for employers are essential.
Dissatisfied employees will find ways to leave the company, and by the time the manager finds out what is wrong, that employee is already interviewing for a different job that offers greater flexibility and support — and that’s the best-case scenario.
If they do stay, stress can have serious implications on the individual experiencing workplace burnout and stress. A survey found that 25% of respondents have felt like screaming or shouting because of job stress.
High-stress jobs can take an emotional and physical toll on employees. Job stressors such as perceived low rewards, a toxic work environment and long work hours can speed up the onset of heart disease, including the likelihood of heart attacks, according to the American Psychological Association. Having work life balance strategies for employers in place will not just keep the workplace productive, but also promote overall health for the workforce.
Working 55 or more hours per week is associated with a 35% increased risk of stroke and a 17% increased risk of dying from ischemic heart disease, according to the study conducted by the World Health organization.
Workplace burnout can also result in increased errors at work, which is particularly concerning in the healthcare industry. Medical errors are the third leading cause of death in American hospitals each year, reported Forbes, based on insights from a Johns Hopkins study.
Practical Strategies To Help Employees Improve Work-Life Balance
There are a number of things that employers can do to help their employees strike a better work-life balance. Read on to find out the six work life balance strategies for employers
- Measure Employee Mental And Physical Health
Employees who are physically fit tend to have better health. The same is true for mental health. Improving your employees’ mental health will make them resilient to stress which in turn will improve their thought processes, judgments, workflow, and relationships in the workplace. That is why one of the best work life balance strategies for employers is to keep employee wellness in check.
Throughout the year, we pulse questions to your employees, based on the six key domains of “human flourishing” (validated research by Sustainability and Health Initiative for NetPositive Enterprise at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health). One of those domains is “Mental and Physical Health.” Based on their self-reported answers, employees will be given a “Mental and Physical Health” score. This allows you to see collectively, “How many people need our support with their mental and physical health right now?”
- Focus On Creating A Regenerative Workplace
In order for employees to feel like they can prioritize their needs, they have to feel supported by their managers and work policies. A regenerative workplace provides an environment in which employees have the resources they need to develop and flourish in work and in life, according to SHINE. Before you can develop effective work-life balance strategies for employees, you have to make sure your foundation is in order.
A healthy workplace culture is a competitive advantage. However, if all you do is preserve your culture, then your competitive edge will decline over time. The most successful teams recover from losses by generating new growth. This means that culture is a long-term advantage, but only if it is regenerative. As a result, one of the best work life balance strategies for employers is to keep the workplace sustainable and toxic-free.
- Implement flexible work policies
According to a survey, 87% of professionals believe that having a flexible job would reduce their stress level, and 97% believe that having flexibility in their jobs would improve their overall quality of life.
Maybe one of your employees wants to bring in cupcakes to his daughter’s class for her birthday. Or another employee’s washing machine broke and she’d like to work remotely on the day a new one is scheduled to arrive. Giving employees the ability to work flex hours or remotely, especially if they have a long commute, gives them the opportunity to take care of the things (and people) that matter to them.
- Offer Opportunities To Bring Their Families Into Work
You’ve heard of “Bring Your Child Into Work Day,” and we’re all about it. But what about bringing in your parents? LinkedIn launched a “Bring In Your Parents Day” last year, as a way for employees to thank their parents for all that they’ve taught them. Some offices also let you bring fur babies (think Cocker Spaniels or Golden Retrievers) into work. Just make sure to keep a few lint rollers handy.
- Support better sleep
A survey by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows that one in every three American adults does not get enough sleep. This means that employees are most probably sleep-deprived. Having a sleep life balance is important in staying productive throughout the day. Also, sleep affects work performance, so it is important for employers to make sure that their team members are getting enough sleep every night.
Encourage managers to hold off on sending work emails to their employees after 4 p.m. By doing so, managers will help employees leave work on time — and prevent them from checking work emails before bedtime.
- Lead by example
Share work-life balance tips from your executives in a company-wide email. Include pictures of them actually practicing work-life balance — even during work hours. Chip Bergh, president and CEO of Levi Strauss & Co., takes the stairs every day, gym bag in hand, at their seven-story headquarters in San Francisco. It wasn’t just about the exercise, he said. It was about showing people that, if the CEO could make time to go to the gym during the workday, they could do it, too. Give employees permission to take care of themselves first.
After all, leading by example is one of the most effective ways to build trust with the team. That is why one of the most effective work life balance strategies for employers is to set a good example for your team and inspire them.
Work-Life Balance: The Secret to Employee Satisfaction
The average full-time employee in the United States works 1,801 hours per year, which is more than in other OECD countries. Due to these long hours, employees are struggling to keep their work-life balance. Employees who are spending too much time at work will soon feel its effects and will suffer work related stress and burnout. That is why work life balance strategies for employers are vital in keeping employees healthy and satisfied.
Having work-life balance strategies in place will not just improve work life balance for employees but will also improve workplace productivity. Managers can do this by keeping the overall health of employees in check, making sure they have sleep life balance and they are not working beyond their schedules. Remember, putting people first can do wonders in the workplace.