Employee needs have shifted dramatically since the advent of the Covid pandemic. Yet, employers can play a significant role in determining how successful their employees are in having their needs met when it comes to achieving work-life integration. While there is no universal guide for creating a work environment that is conducive to work-life integration, there are some overarching strategies that organisations can implement to assist their people in integrating their work and personal lives. Doing so can bring valuable rewards, which include an engaged and more productive workforce – and higher talent retention levels.
Here are four steps toward supporting and facilitating work-life integration among employees:
- Evaluate the work-life needs of your employees
Starting with fundamentals, whether they are working remotely or in-office, today’s employees are looking to bring their whole selves to work within an inclusive, positive organisational culture, in which they feel valued and cared for. Here is a cross-section of employees’ work-life needs, seen in the context of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, adapted to the world of work.
2. Formulate a work-life integration strategy
Once you have evaluated your employees’ specific work-life needs, you will be equipped to build a work-life integration strategy for your organisation. Your work-life integration strategy could include the following:
- • Allowing full-time or part-time work from home
Flexible work hours or approval to work remotely can assist employees in finding balance while juggling personal and professional responsibilities.• Encouraging managers to focus on productivity rather than hours
Rather than count work hours, encourage managers to focus on the completion of a particular task. In some instances, employees may need to put in long hours to complete a task, but this is will be offset by the days when it is not necessary to work a full 8-hour day.• Enforcing regular breaks
Ensure your employees take work breaks and take their lunch hour, preferably getting out of the office or taking a break in a canteen or different part of the office.• Re-evaluating leave policies
Guarantee employees take their leave quotient within the appropriate time frame by not allowing them to carry over holiday or capping how many days they can carry over. In addition, maternity and paternity leave, paid holidays, sick days, and compassionate leave all play an important role in maintaining balanced work-life integration.• Regularly reviewing workloads
Review the allocation of work duties to ensure individuals have reasonably achievable workloads. This will take managers being familiar with work processes as what may seem like a small task to management might actually take an employee many hours to complete. Managers who talk to their teams regularly will know who is busy and stressed, and who has capacity.• Introducing a health & wellness programme
Health and wellness programmes are a great way to promote healthy lifestyle habits that will benefit employees and positively impact work-life integration. They also benefit the organisation in that they can increase engagement and employee retention.• Creating an employee awareness programme
As a sub-set of health & wellness programmes, work-life integration awareness programmes are initiatives that can assist employees to transition from their old way of working. By educating employees on how to integrate their work and personal lives, they will be better equipped to manage their time, leading to a more productive and engaged workforce.
3. Let Employees Choose Their Most Productive Hours
As part of a flexible work schedule, encouraging employees to choose their most productive hours for work is crucial in getting the best out of them. By doing so, you will be able to ensure that they are working when they are alert and best able to concentrate and can turn out their highest quality work. This will lead to increased efficiency in the workplace, which benefits both the organisation and the employee.
4. Leverage The Right Tools And Technology
Organisations who are committed to work-life integration should provide the right tools to maximise employee productivity in and outside the office. For example, cloud technology has transformed the way businesses operate, where employees can access software and files from any location. They simply need to visit a website and log in to gain access. This also facilitates collaboration and communication across international teams regardless of time zones.
There are many benefits to be had in succeeding at work-life integration
Employees experience many benefits when their work life and their personal life are in successfully integrated. One key benefit is the ability to enjoy their private life. And there are benefits for employers, too. When employees are happy, healthy, and well-rested they are more likely to produce the best work possible. Additionally, as a result of sufficient energy and motivation, their productivity increases. Last but not least, encouraging healthy work-life harmony will make your organisation a much more attractive place to work, drawing good calibre employees and helping to retain your existing talent.