Improving work-life balance:
Why and How
The world grows increasingly aware of the dangers of allowing work to take up most of one’s daily life. Emphasis is relentlessly laid on improving work-life balance, and thankfully, that goal can be attained through better scheduling.
Work-life balance simply refers to the division of time and focus between the professional and personal concerns of an individual’s life. Scheduling can simply be defined as the act of timing and planning activities in order to achieve set goals.
The importance of enhancing work-life balance
The essence of driving work-life balance can not be overemphasized. Its beauty lies in the fact that it triggers a lovely domino effect in which one benefit leads to another benefit. Keep reading to find out why work-life balance is imperative.
1. Better Health
The most significant benefit of work-life balance seems to be general health improvement. This is the case for a variety of reasons. Firstly, work-life balance reduces stress and burnout. According to the American Institute of Stress, 83% of Americans suffer from work-related stress. 25% of them consider their job to be the leading stressor in their lives. Additionally, work-related stress has been proven to be one of the leading causes of death in the US.
Work-life balance reduces stress by ensuring a manageable workload, delegation, and prioritization. Thus, employees have room to “breathe” and not worry about the heap of tasks they have to deal with.
This easily translates to better mental and physical health. Instead of subconsciously fretting about work at all times, your mind frees up and dwells on better and more relaxing issues. The outcome will be healthier emotions and a clearer mind.
In terms of physical health, work-life balance guarantees that you’re not glued to your work desk all day. Instead, you’d have time for good habits like exercise, getting outside, preparing and eating healthy meals as well as getting enough sleep.
2. Enhanced mindfulness and creativity
If you find that your mind is always racing with work thoughts and how much you have to do, then you need to evaluate your work-life balance. Without work-life balance, you’d find yourself juggling work thoughts when you’re away from work and dealing with non-work thoughts when you’re working.
Consequently, you’d never be “present” enough to dive into and enjoy what’s at hand. Absent-mindedness will plague every area of your life.
However, proper work-life balance ensures that you’re here now. With mindfulness, you’ll be able to give yourself to the concern of the moment.
Clarity of the mind and boost in creativity equally follow. Work-life balance will upscale your awareness and improve your response to situations. You’ll come up with smarter solutions to daily tasks because your mind is decluttered.
3. Improved engagement and productivity at work
Every organization appreciates employees who are dedicated to and enthusiastic about their job. Sadly, it’s almost impossible to be engaged when work always disrupts your personal life and you’re drowning in a mountain of tasks with looming deadlines. As desirable as employee engagement is, Gallup’s study reveals that 51% of employees are disengaged in the workplace while 13% feel miserable at work and spread negativity to their teammates.
Work-life balance however boosts employee engagement. Good health, enough time to attend to other life concerns, and a reduction in stress, dividends of proper work-life balance, keep employees in good spirits. They’ll be happy and motivated to go above and beyond in terms of work
Furthermore, there’ll be a remarkable increase in workplace morale and productivity. The good feeling and motivation will ensure that workers perform at an optimal level, and finish their tasks on time with notable additional competence.
4. Better relationships and general fulfillment
The temptation to overwork oneself and wear it as a badge of honor is real. However, many fail to understand that work isn’t all there is to life.
Imagine not attending your kid’s presentation at school just because your job made no time for it. Worse even, picture yourself scrambling out halfway through a date with your significant other because a shift was abruptly assigned and communicated to you.
Proper work-life balance makes it possible to spend quality time with the ones you care about. This will keep you connected and improve your relationships with them. Besides giving enough time to foster meaningful connections, it will also make it possible to attend to other concerns such as exercise and engaging in your hobbies.
Having a truly balanced life will gradually fill you with happiness and a sense of fulfillment.
"Work-life balance reduces stress by ensuring a manageable workload, delegation, and prioritization."
How to improve work-life balance through better scheduling
Let's walk you through some highly effective tips on how to improve work-life balance via employee scheduling.
1. Emphasize work-life balance
The first step towards enhancing your workforce’s work-life balance is by weaving it into your company’s values and policies. Making work-life balance a core part of the organization’s values will ensure that it’s taken into consideration during scheduling.
To prioritize work-life balance, hold conversations about it with your employees. Seek their opinions on multiple ways to achieve it. Notify new employees about the company’s stance on the issue and pinpoint the steps that have been taken to make it a reality.
Educate them on the benefits of work-life balance and encourage them to take it seriously as well. Stressing the essence of work-life balance and your commitment to it will guarantee that all of the company’s practices accord with it.
2. Eliminate unfair scheduling practices and unpredictability
If your goal should ever be to distort your team’s work-life balance, look no further than an unpredictable or disruptive employee schedule. Unfair and unstable scheduling makes it almost impossible for employees to properly deal with the work-life intersection.
They’ll end up struggling with every problem in the book from a loss of morale to conflicting engagements and anxiety disorders.
A couple of popular scheduling practices that distort work-life balance are:
- Clopening shifts. They involve employees who close a business at night returning to open the business in the morning and they interfere with the staff’s rest
- Communicating schedules to employees at the last minute. This practice usually has the effect of tossing staff into a state of confusion if their shift is around the corner
To nip this problem in the bud, such practices should be erased. Timely communication of schedules to employees is a must, as is enough uninterrupted rest time.
Furthermore, accurate planning is vital when creating the employee schedule. Proper visualization of the nature of work, the volume of work at each time, as well as the possibility of emergencies will help create a solid schedule. It will prevent sporadic changes and take any nervousness off the shoulders of the workforce.
Hence, employees will go about their professional and personal lives more confidently without having to fear any interruptions.Eliminating unfair scheduling practices is, as a matter of fact, a legal obligation. Read our post for deeper insight into predictive scheduling and fair workweek legislation.
3. Highlight autonomy and flexibility of schedules
The truth about scheduling is that it shouldn’t be manned by one person on behalf of the entire organization’s workforce. Since it involves the whole team, everyone should have a say and some measure of control over it. Therefore, the schedule should be accessible to the employees, making it possible for them to communicate about it at any time.
Additionally, it’s imperative to allow flexibility where possible. One thing we’ve learned from the COVID era is that, in many companies across multiple industries, the task-based approach holds sway over the time-based approach. People are different, and what matters for most jobs is that the work gets done.
Improving work-life balance via better scheduling begins with recognizing that each person’s daily life is characterized by its peculiarities. Flexible schedules will help reach the goal.
4. Schedule breaks and sufficient time per task
To improve work-life balance through better scheduling, it’s necessary to ensure that there are breaks after some hours of work. Regular breaks after every few hours of work keep the mind fresh.
Additionally, the set goals should be realizable within the allotted time. Allotting insufficient time for a task causes staff to stretch themselves thin.
It’s second nature for the average employee to try their best to finish their tasks on time. They might be driven to give up other life needs to meet up. Consequently, they’d skip breaks, work after hours, encroach into time meant for other tasks and possibly miss out on valuable personal and family time.
These are signs of poor work-life balance.
To advance work-life balance for your employees and even yourself, double-check that the time allotted is commensurate and sufficient for the tasks and goals set.
5. Have concrete overtime policies
While working overtime seems to be something everyone might abhor, the reality is that some employees can be quite ambitious and over-dedicated. A study featured by the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reveals that 15% of employees choose to work overtime because they liked their jobs or did not want to let their colleagues down.
Besides that, there is the possibility of an emergency where an employee can’t perform their tasks and another would have to fill in. Sometimes, your organization could be swamped with tasks and deadlines, making working overtime inevitable.
In such situations, here are some overtime-related scheduling practices to maintain work-life balance:
- Have a rule specifying the maximum number of weekly work hours
- Schedule multiple employees to cover up in the event of an emergency to reduce the workload
- Restrict the overtime to a certain number of hours
Your organization’s policies regarding overtime demonstrate your commitment to balance. Having and enforcing such overtime guidelines indicate that work-life balance isn’t a mere buzzword you throw about for the mere sake of it. It shows your company is really about it!
6. Implement technology
Technology is a worthy companion in the quest to advance work-life balance through better scheduling. Using a manual setup for scheduling purposes can lead to disarray because there’s a strong possibility of things slipping through the cracks. However, an employee scheduling software houses all scheduling stuff and requires only a click of a button to access.
Typically, scheduling software helps you schedule according to the company’s requirements. It also reduces scheduling conflicts among employees. Furthermore, it makes self-service and autonomy a reality because employees can easily view their schedules at all times.
Among many other things, good scheduling software helps with:
- Schedule monitoring
- Shift changing
Roosted's employee scheduling software makes scheduling a breeze. From time tracking to data collection and communication, Roosted redefines scheduling, and makes it possible for you to kick employee work-life balance up a rung!
Better scheduling is one solid way to actualize the enhancement of work-life balance. These hints will ensure that both employers and employees blend work and life more efficiently.
Find out how Roosted can help you.