Perfect Work-Life Balance, A New Ask Of Employees Today

With more and more enterprises returning to work from office on a hybrid model, it is believed that work-life balance scales are tipping yet again


It is vital for businesses to comprehend the magnitude of changing paradigms that are shifting the way people work and how work gets done today. The pandemic and its aftermath have shifted how employers view employee experiences at work. Personal factors rather than external factors have taken precedence over what matters to both enterprises and employees. According to recent research, employees are concerned about work-life balance, flexibility, and mental health as they look to their companies for assurance about the future. A McKinsey & Company 2021 survey revealed that 51% of people seek a better work-life balance, following the COVID-19 pandemic.

With more and more enterprises returning to work from office on a hybrid model, it is believed that work-life balance scales are tipping yet again. In the months ahead, attaining the optimal work-life balance among an increasingly varied set of employees will continue to confound even the most proactive of businesses. After the COVID-19 outbreak ripped through established working habits, businesses all across the world are now rethinking their policies and working arrangements. Here’s some thoughts on how enterprises can build an effective way to improve employees' physical health and emotional well-being, thereby accelerating productivity at work.

Build a N-I-C-E Culture

I believe that work-life balance is a cycle rather than an achievement. It is a continuous calibration of ‘Navigate – Innovate – Cultivate – Evaluate’ and then Repeat!

Navigate Care: Navigating the current situation and building a comprehensive strategy is the key to not just inculcating but also reinforcing the agendas of work-life balance. Employees tend to perform better and show higher dedication to the organization if there is a strong emotional connect between them and the employer. One out of every three employees leave their job because they don’t feel cared for, and one out of every five depart because they don't feel their well-being is supported. Thus, organizations must build a foundation that encourages empathy, trust, respect, fairness, compassion, and impartiality.

Innovate Flexibility: Several organizations immediately modified their policies to accommodate work from home during the pandemic. Similarly, adapting policies to foster work-life balance is also crucial. Allowing workers to work flexible days or hours is an important part of promoting a good work-life balance. Creating flexible work environments aids in the growth of resilient teams. Flexibility in work schedules, rewarding quality of work rather than clocked in time, and a leave policy that encourages employees to take time off are just a few examples that enable a healthy workplace. There are a few alternatives available. One option is to have weekly hour requirements for employees but enable them to work a different number of hours each day as long as they meet the total requirement. Another alternative is to highlight the outcome, such as completed items or projects, rather than the number of hours worked. Organizations must continuously innovate and experiment with policies that best suit the needs of the current workforce with the evolving ecosystem.

Cultivate Health and Recognition: Prioritizing health and wellbeing is an important aspect of achieving a work-life balance. It's vital to establish and model limits between work and home hours, so that employees don't feel obligated to be accessible at all times. Encourage regular breaks for employees and prioritize physical and mental health to improve energy and attention while reducing stress. Recognizing team members' efforts and achievements in public reduces stress while increasing sentiments of connection and belonging. Regular team meetings or unplanned gestures can be used to express gratitude. Companies with strong recognition cultures perform better and have better growth, because when employees sense their efforts are acknowledged, they are more likely to stay satisfied and contented, even under difficult situations in these distant times.

Evaluate Feedback: Business demands are frequently the driving force behind organizational decisions. However, to establish a workplace where employees can thrive, it is critical to listen to and act on employee feedback. During the pandemic, several organizations profited from acting on employee attitudes. Monthly surveys, one-on-one discussions, and webinars are some approaches for determining employee attitude. This cannot not, however, be a one-time project. To create the right work-life balance for employees, it is necessary to monitor the emotional health of the team regularly. This will fortify bonds and empower the workforce to succeed, which is especially important in these turbulent times. Constant evaluation will also help the enterprises to re-invent their processes and keep up with the changing paradigms of work-life balance.

Obviously, repeating these four pillars on an ongoing basis is critical to improve the link between well-being and productivity.

To summarise, employee wellbeing is crucial for businesses to thrive. It has been noticed that during the pandemic, many employers observed a direct impact of employee wellbeing on their performance, that consequently impacted the business results. Employers had to find ways to accommodate the rising needs for empathy towards their employees. Today with the winds of change continuing to shift towards enhanced employee experience, it is critical for enterprises to create and strengthen the NICE culture for their employees.

(The views expressed in the article have been penned down by By Giridhar GV, Executive Vice President – Global Human Resources, HGS solely for BW People publication.)

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