Take work-life balance seriously for a happy community
The 11th-15th October is National Work-Life Week and it’s an opportunity for both employers and employees to focus on wellbeing at work. In a recent survey, work-life balance was hailed as more important than salary for two thirds of Brits1. Of course, it’s important every single year but this year, with so many people spending the best part of 18 months doing everything from home, the work-life separation has become somewhat blurred.
Gary Keating, a local business growth specialist at ActionCOACH Bristol, shares this advice to business owners and their teams on how they can achieve a great work-life balance. With data from the ONS Business Insights and Conditions Survey (BICS) showing that of businesses that had not permanently stopped trading due to the pandemic, 24% intend to use increased homeworking as a permanent business model going forward2, Gary recommends making solid moves towards maintaining a balance in a flexi-working world.
• Start by listening. Use a confidential survey where staff feel free to tell you exactly how happy they are with their current work-life balance. Ask for their opinions on their top three barriers to switching off from work and what most affects their wellbeing at work. Knowing this will help you provide an effective range of solutions for your team to tap into.
• Extend the sense of support. Especially in today’s world, many employees dedicate their lives to their jobs and, more often than not, this can impact their personal lives. As an employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that their downtime is kept exactly that. Encouraging them to practise activities such as a 15-minute shutdown at the end of the working day, whether working from home or the office, will help to feel released from the work mindset, boosting productivity, motivation for tomorrow and a general feeling of accomplishment for today.
• Stress relievers. Support your local business community by bringing in a variety of stress relieving activities for your teams. From the simple pub lunch or lunch delivery through to escape rooms and spa days as rewards, bringing people together and rewarding them for consistently great performance at work strikes a healthy balance between work and play.
• Prevent burnout. If you’re worried about taking quality time away from work, imagine if you were forced to stop working because of burnout. So, provide a system for your staff to handover work during holiday time or shared shift patterns so they know they can switch off and recharge knowing the work isn’t stacking up while they are away.
• Take care of your own wellbeing. Don’t forget, to be the best leader, your wellbeing must be looked after too. It’s important to take time out and practise what you preach to your team. There will be members of your team who will relish stepping up while you take some well-deserved time off!
Nick Gibb, Director of Bristol Sound Proofing, has seen his work-life balance transform since he started working with Gary. Before he started with ActionCOACH Bristol, Nick would work an average of 80+ hours a week, “Gary has really helped me to implement systems that make my life easier. Before I started working with Gary, I had no clear structure in place to run all aspects of my business as it was expanding. Now despite, the fact we’re busier than ever, I have time for myself. The weekends are mine again, and I can spend them with my family or even on the golf course when I fancy a challenge.”
It’s a stark fact that only 1 in 5 employees would choose to discuss their concerns with a superior at work, whilst 16% of people are prepared to leave companies that are causing too much stress3. Encouraging work-life balance should be a priority for the region’s businesses because attracting and retaining quality staff is the difference between being a good business and a great one.
ActionCOACH Bristol has free advice events throughout the year with plenty of practical takeaways to grow business, create happy teams and make an impact on your local community.
1 Ranstad Global Employer Brand Research 2021
2 ONS - Business Insights and Conditions Survey 2020
3 Perkbox, The 2020 UK workplace stress survey, 2020