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Work-life balance: how can employers get it right in 2022?

Author: ICAEW

Published: 29 Mar 2022

Learn about how you as an employer can get the work-life balance right in 2022 so you can keep employees happy, helping to attract and retain talent.

Getting a healthy work-life balance has been proven to benefit productivity. As working from home became commonplace during the pandemic, it’s become more important than ever to provide a good work-life balance at your workplace. Finding and hiring people in the current jobs market is difficult so it's imperative that you have set working hours that provide better balance. Our latest blog looks at how employers can get the work-life balance right in 2022.

Managing work-life balance as an employer

As an employer, you want to make sure your team are motivated to do their jobs well.

With the rise in hybrid and remote working throughout COVID-19, people’s work-life balance has dramatically changed. For some, it has become easier to do more of what you love thanks to being at home more, but for others being at home has made it more difficult to switch off come the end of the day. 

It’s safe to say that remote and hybrid working has created its own set of challenges for employers to tackle when it comes to employer responsibilities

You as an employer need to make sure that work-life balance forms a core part of company values to ensure employees are both happy and productive. 

By showing employees that you value their time off as much as their time in the office, you can boost motivation and productivity. Improving the balance means employees can spend more time away from work doing things that they enjoy. When employees then return to work, they’re refreshed and ready to go.

How can a poor work-life balance impact your employee’s mental health and personal life?

Employers who have a poor work-life balance structure in place can affect not just the mental and physical health of employees, but also their personal life too. 

The always-on nature of the digital age means that it can be hard to put  work aside after the working day has finished, leaving employees vulnerable to burnout. This issue was made worse by the pandemic’s widespread introduction of remote and hybrid working - throwing up new challenges for employers around the world. 

Not only can a poor work-life balance impact people’s health, but it can also be detrimental to their productivity and performance. Sometimes, it leads to increased absenteeism or presenteeism, both of which can harm your business.

Work/life balance benefits for employers

There are many benefits for employers who put work-life balance front and centre of their employment policies. 

As we continue to make our way out of the pandemic, striking a healthier balance can bring massive benefits to your business. Employees can feel more in control of balancing their personal time away from work, particularly at a time where the lines between work and home life are more blurred than ever.

The benefits for employers who prioritise work-life balance at their company include:

  • Employees who are more engaged, committed and loyal to their employer.
  • Improved mental health, which allows employees to make more informed decisions, and come up with innovative and creative ideas.
  • Increased productivity as employees feel as if they have more ownership and control over their work, thus making them more motivated to work for you.
  • Prospective employees will see you as an employer that cares about people in the business, helping to attract top talent.
  • Your business could become more profitable if you prioritise having a work-life balance thanks to a motivated workforce.

Work/life balance tips for employers

There are some crucial tips that you need to take into account as an employer. If you are an employer that could benefit from providing a better balance, making even small changes can have a hugely positive impact on your employees.

Of course, the key to success is striking a balance, any changes that are made must take business needs into account. Here are some of our top tips for providing a better work-life balance:

  • Speak to employees about how the current balance affects them - this will help identify any obvious opportunities to improve the balance.
  • Encouraging employees to take breaks away from the screen - that could involve introducing or improving break areas.
  • Make sure you give your employees adequate time off so that they don’t burnout and encourage them to take time off rather than carrying over holiday time.
  • Regularly review the workloads of your employees so that each employee has a manageable load and is therefore able to do their job to the best of their ability.
  • Think about the introduction of volunteer days where employees can take a day’s extra holiday if they spend it volunteering. 
  • Introduce wellness breaks or time off and encourage employees to spend it doing something they enjoy.
  • Periodically allow employees to finish early.
  • Be flexible on working hours (i.e. times when staff can start and finish).

Although COVID-19 has shone a light on the need for a healthy work-life balance, trends have been shifting towards more flexible working over the last few years. Keeping your business at the forefront of these trends helps you not only attract top talent but helps you retain a happy, healthy workforce.