Employees are the backbone of any company. And it’s only natural that when they’re overworked, tired, and burnt out, they’re less productive.
However, if employees can balance their work and personal lives, not only will they thrive, but so will the business — a win-win!
But how can you boost your employees’ work-life balance?
We’ve got you covered. This article will talk about what work-life balance is, why it’s important, and its benefits for both employers and employees. We’ll also share some tips on what you, as an employer, can do to promote a more balanced lifestyle among your staff.
Let’s get started.
What does work-life balance mean?
What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the words “work-life balance”?
Is it something like a 50-50 split between being at work and engaging in your personal life? Successfully straddling the line between the both of them? Being able to “have it all”?
Having work-life balance means you’re fulfilled by both your professional life and your personal life. One doesn’t seep into the other, and you’re able to switch between them easily when it’s time to do so.
Unfortunately, work-life balance is still elusive for many.
48% of Americans consider themselves workaholics, which consists of:
- Worrying about work on a day off
- Checking emails first thing after waking up (58% of survey respondents said they do this)
- Feeling too busy to take a vacation
All this is even more worrying when we consider the fact that for 28% of Americans, the obsession with work isn’t just the drive to succeed — it’s a financial necessity.
So, after taking this into account, a more accurate definition of work-life balance would be to ensure that your world of work remains separate from that of your personal life. The goal is to ensure one (work) doesn’t dominate the other (life).
That means not thinking about work when you’re off the clock and not taking it home with you, either. It also means not feeling guilty when you need to take a leave of absence and enjoying yourself while you’re on vacation.
Why is work-life balance important?
Here’s what happens when employees don’t have a healthy work-life balance:
Research shows that 63% of managers and 59% of employees have considered quitting their jobs due to poor work-life balance and burnout. Also, just 37% of women workers rated their ability to switch off from work as “good” in 2023, compared with 45% in 2022.
In the same study, 97% of women said that taking advantage of flexible work options would affect how likely they were to be promoted. Another survey found that 46% of Gen Zs and 45% of millennials said they feel burnt out from the intensity of their workloads.
These statistics aren’t painting a rosy picture. It appears that not having a balanced life leads to burnout, which can lead to quitting.
And for employees, not having work-life balance leads to poor overall well-being and, ultimately, a shorter lifespan.
Higher employee churn also leads to a loss of profits and increased expenses for companies. It costs up to two times what an old employee was making to bring in a new employee to replace them (more on this below!).
Benefits of work-life balance for companies
There are many benefits to boosting your employees’ work-life balance. Here are four of the major ones:
1. Reduced employee turnover
Workers who have a healthy work-life balance are more likely to be satisfied with their jobs, and satisfied workers tend to stay with their companies.
That can save you a lot in expenses related to hiring. On average, it costs organizations $18,591 for each employee who leaves. Burnt-out employees are also 2.6 times more likely to actively search for a different job.
Here are some important numbers every employer and HR professional should know: 48% of employees quit a job due to childcare issues, 45% quit due to a lack of flexible working, and 43% quit due to a lack of good benefits, such as healthcare and paid time off.
But when people are able to find balance in their lives through flexible working, support, and paid time off, they’re less likely to walk away in search of something that does meet their personal needs.
2. Improved engagement
Engagement is important if you want your business to grow. And what better way to drive employee engagement than by giving your employees the support they need to improve their work-life balance? After all, happy workers are engaged workers, and engaged workers drive your business forward.
According to Gallup, only 21% of employees are engaged at work, and 33% say their overall well-being is high. That means many global workers don’t find their work engaging (or meaningful) and aren’t at a great place in their lives, either.
Teams that are highly engaged are 14% to 18% more productive than teams that score low in engagement. The individuals are also 18% to 43% less likely to leave the company.
Here’s how improved engagement affects business outcomes (including your bottom line):
3. Higher morale
A work-life balance leads to higher morale in the workforce, which means improved work performance and quality.
Employees who are burnt out are 63% more likely to take a sick day, which costs your business in productivity.
Happier workers, on the other hand, are less likely to skip out on work, which means less absenteeism. They are also less likely to cause drama in the workplace, be hostile, or engage in rumor mills, all of which lower engagement and productivity.
Want to know how else you can improve morale and help your employees create more time for their personal lives? Try out Motion! Motion users finish work two hours faster every day.
4. Better company reputation
The old days of company loyalty are over.
Employees are less likely to stay at one company for the rest of their lives, and why should they? It’s the company’s job to make it an attractive place to work, and sustaining a reputation as a business that’s all about work-life balance is a good way to do that.
After all, 84% of job seekers consider a company’s reputation important in their search.
According to research by PwC, more employees want to work for employers who care about their well-being, and 60% consider well-being an important factor when looking for a new job.
Establishing a reputation as a company that cares about its employees’ well-being stops your best employees from leaving and attracts top talent.
Your employees might even recommend your business to others.
Benefits of work-life balance for employees
Employees can benefit significantly from a healthy work-life balance. Here are six benefits of a balanced life for employees:
1. Personal growth
Spending all your time at (or thinking about) work is no fun, as it saps energy away from things you enjoy, such as your interests and hobbies.
Not only do interests and hobbies make life enjoyable, but they also help you develop a variety of skills and knowledge that are transferable to the workplace. Having leisure time also improves creativity.
2. Better overall well-being
According to FlexJobs’ Work-Life-Relationship Survey (2020), 67% of employees seek flexible jobs due to the improved work-life balance they often offer.
Overall, they felt that more flexibility would boost their well-being. Here’s how:
- 95% believed having a flexible job would make them happier overall.
- 89% believed it would help them take better care of themselves.
- 86% believed it would reduce their stress.
- 67% said it would enable them to exercise more often.
A work-life balance gives you more time to devote to your personal life, including self-care. The better you take care of yourself, the healthier you’ll be, both mentally and physically.
3. Less stress
Workplace stress not only impacts employee performance, but it also affects every other domain of their lives.
According to research by Mental Helath America, 80% of employees say that stress from work affects their relationships with friends, family, and coworkers. Also, 78% say it affects their mental health, with some of them reporting increased anxiety, depression, and compulsive or regular substance use.
The bottom line: having a healthy work-life balance can lessen your stress levels and repair the relationships you have with people you love.
4. Increased productivity
In this era of fast-paced living, many people want to be more productive, whether that’s in their work lives or personal lives.
But the ironic thing is you’re actually less productive if you’re constantly stressed about work. Time management strategies and productivity tips can only do so much when you’re not at your best mentally.
But you know what’ll make you more productive? A better work-life balance. Having time to rest allows your brain (and body) to decompress, which lets you perform at a higher level. Plus, you’ll be more motivated when you return to work.
This is why athletes have off-seasons — they can only perform at their best when they’re fully rested and recharged. Imagine how you’d perform if you were constantly training and competing!
Want to know how else you can be more productive? Read our case study on how Sparkmate finishes work faster with Motion.
5. The ability to be more present
How many times have you thought about work when you’re spending time with family and friends? And how often have you thought about what to make for dinner when you’re at work?
This inability to separate our work lives from our personal lives has made it difficult for us to be present. Some of us are constantly distracted by our thoughts.
Mindfulness can help us be more present, but only if we’re willing to keep our work and personal lives separate. That means living in the moment. So, no work thoughts when not working. And no personal life contemplation at work.
Being present, whether in work or life, can enable you to focus on your tasks — and enjoy yourself while you’re doing them.
6. More success
It’s a misconception that being successful means you have to be on the grind all the time. That’s what hustle culture teaches us.
But spending all your time working without taking a break is the fastest way to burnout, which is quite the opposite of success. In fact, you might even feel like you’ve failed when you’re burnt out.
That’s not to say you shouldn’t dedicate some of your time to your work, but you shouldn’t do it at the expense of your well-being. That’s what having a work-life balance means — being in control of how you spend your time.
You’ll enjoy yourself more when you do things that matter to you, and this positive energy will carry over into your work, as well. Then, you’ll achieve higher levels of success without getting drained.
What can employers do to promote work-life balance?
Here are just a few tips to get you started:
Give your staff the ability to work a flexible schedule: While the pandemic has subsided, demand for flexible work options remains high, especially among the younger generation. Giving your staff the ability to create their own schedules (and doing so without micromanaging them) shows that you trust and value their input. That will enable them to do their best work.
Create a culture that promotes health and well-being: 36% of employees want daily breaks and a devoted “self-care day” every month. Also, 34% would like a dedicated “meeting-free” day every week. So, think about where you can create space for self-care and downtime for your employees. Not only does promoting health and well-being show your employees you care about them, but it also increases productivity — so everyone benefits!
Encourage staff to take their vacations: Americans work hard, and it shows. In 2021, only a quarter of Americans used up all of the time off that they had earned, which means the majority are working on days they don’t have to. Encouraging your staff to use their vacation days not only prevents burnout but also ensures that they’ll be energized when they return.
Live your best life with Motion
You only have one life here on Earth. Let’s make the most of it. While work is an important part of many people’s lives, employers and employees should also be able to enjoy their personal lives. It just makes good business sense.
Motion makes it easy to create a more balanced life by giving you 13 months in a year.
Yes, that’s right — an extra month per year. Motion’s intuitive AI-assisted algorithms ensure that you finish all the work you need to do on time without needing to sacrifice your personal life in the process. No more working on the weekends!
So go ahead, take that vacation. Go on that dinner date. Spend a guilt-free weekend with the people who matter to you most.
Motion’s got you covered. Try our 7-day free trial today.