The Importance of Both Work-Life Balance and Employee Engagement


The modern day workplace is becoming people-centric, meaning that companies are putting more emphasis on improving things like work-life balance and employee engagement.

Why? There are two main reasons: one is that it affects a company’s bottom line; making a company more innovative, productive, and helping its bottom line. The other is the fact that modern-day employee is looking for a job that is fulfilling that can help them grow as people.

With all this, what feels like sudden change going on, is your company truly doing its best to adapt to the times? Sure, it might be tough to get new engagement and work-life balance initiatives going, but they can help your organization prosper. Here’s how and why you should look into it:

Why Work-Life Balance Is Important

Last year, France passed a law stating that companies with over 50 employees are required to guarantee employees a “right to disconnect” from their e-mails/work outside of their office hours.

The minister of labor, Myriam El Khomri, took note that employees are more connected during hours outside of the office and that there are no boundaries between personal and professional life — she went on to justify the new law by citing the country’s burnout, stress, and turnover problems as one of the main reasons why this law was needed.

Unless your country has laws set in place to encourage balance, it’s important, as an organization to make these changes. There are a lot of business reasons why starting work-life balance initiatives makes sense, but let’s start off with the primary factor of why it’s essential. The people.

Work-life balance affects the overall well-being of employees.

When an employee can balance things out with their work and life, they’ll be able to allot more times to their personal interests and needs. This makes people less susceptible to burnout, put more focus on the things that matter (both at work and in life), and lessens stress — allowing employees to be healthier, both mentally and physically.

Here’s a small video describing the benefits of balance:

Yes, some employees can focus on work-life balance around their company’s schedule, but employers are assisting with promoting balance.

Work-Life Balance Leads Increases Productivity

A survey conducted by the Corporate Executive Board, representing over 80% of Fortune 500 companies, found that employees that believe they have good work-life balance worked 21% harder than those who don’t after researching 50,000 global workers.

Another interesting point from that study is that the research found that “boosting workforce productivity doesn’t hinge on employees actually participating in the work-life services offered by their employer. Employees just need to be reassured that the service is there and they have the option to participate if they want to.”

There is a psychological effect that occurs when employees feel as if their company cares about their well-being. It leads them to work more efficiently and actually leads them to perform better. Here’s a quick presentation by the folks at Engage For Success that explains how:

As far as on the recruitment and retention side: it’s proven that 1 in 4 employees who don’t have the support of a work/life balance plan from their employer, plan to leave the company within the next two years.

All this data proves is one thing, that simply assisting employees with their lives improves their productivity and makes them want to stay at your company.

Initiatives To Help Employees Achieve Work-Life Balance

Technology companies are setting the bar high for work-life perks, and larger enterprises are (slowly) starting to follow suit.

Though some of the more progressive perks may not be able to work in most workplaces (ex: a lawyer isn’t going to be able to go to trial remotely … yet?), it’s still worth seeing what some of the companies that are rated some of the best places to work are doing to keep their employees happy.

Here are a couple of ways to help employees achieve work-life balance

  • Flexible Work Schedule
  • Remote Working
  • Unlimited Paid Time Off — trust me, it’s not as crazy as it seems.
  • Extended Paternal and Maternal leave
  • Wellness Stipends

There are dozens and dozens of other perks that an employer can offer in order to improve work-life balance and increase happiness and engagement; just make sure to keep it as simple as possible, give employees autonomy to complete their work, how they want.

Why is all this stuff important to begin with? It’s quite simple: to improve employee engagement.

Why Employee Engagement Important

Every now and then it’s easy to forget that employees will always be the lifeblood of an enterprise. They are going to help an organization come up with products, services, close sales, execute ideas, they literally keep the company running.

With this said, low employee engagement in a global problem, as over 70% of employees consider themselves to be disengaged. This is causing up to $450B in lost productivity in the U.S. alone.

Which begs the question: How come employee disengagement is still a problem and why aren’t companies doing anything to solve the problem?

Well, instituting a work-life balance policy is one major step in the right direction. Giving employees autonomy, balance, and having a transparent culture, makes them feel more engaged and improves their output.

Engaged Employees Influence the Bottom Line

The role of an HR department is going to evolve into something different within the coming years. They won’t just be focused on hiring and retention, they’ll blossom into a data-driven labor optimization department.

Why is that? Well, companies with high levels of employee engagement tend to improve their operating income by at least 20%. A lot of this information can come from employee pulse survey tools that can provide you with metrics and analytics on engagement, happiness, and productivity levels of your company.

A lot of tools, like Butterfly.ai, include customizable forms that’ll allow you to ask questions to help delve deeper into some of the problems within your organization:

There’s a reason companies like Google, Microsoft, and HP, are introducing design thinking and people analytics, to help improve their organization.  These companies are investing in their people, and seeing returns that are affecting their business, like increased productivity, profits, less turnover, and even improved absenteeism.

High Engagement’s Influences Creativity and Innovation

According to a study published by Gallup, 59% of engaged employees say that their job “brings out their most creative ideas.”  Of the surveyed employees who were disengaged only 3% said the same.

Of course, it doesn’t take a large study to find out that the happier an employee is, the more likely they are to be satisfied with their work and engaged enough to offer new ideas and suggestion.

 

Just remember one thing: engagement influences innovation and innovation influences engagement. If you have the type of environment that is collaborative, innovative, and transparent, you’ll able to have an engaged office, and vice versa.

So take a step in the right direction and offer work-life balance perks. It’s a major factor in improving employee engagement, and, as you’ve learned, a great way to improve your bottom-line and innovation.

What Are You Doing To Improve Work-Life Balance and Employee Engagement At Your Office?

Are you planning on implementing a work-life balance initiative/s to improve engagement? Let us know in the comments below, and we can provide some insights and help!