What is employee work-life balance?

Work-life balance refers to maintaining a harmonious relationship between personal life and work life. Often, people invest so much time and energy into their work that they neglect essential elements of their lives that aren’t work-related. Work-life balance involves a daily dedication of time and energy to one’s job while also carving out time for meaningful and enjoyable activities that support one’s health and happiness. 

Why should HR leaders care about work-life balance?

Work-life balance allows employees to lead a wholesome, stable, and meaningful life. When employees balance their long workdays by addressing their physical, emotional, or spiritual needs, they’re more likely to maintain job motivation and morale. Employees who strive for work-life balance tend to work more productively and demonstrate more creativity. Moreover, because the current workforce values jobs that support work-life balance, promoting it can improve recruitment practices and retention levels. 

What can HR leaders do to prioritize work-life balance?

Work-life balance may look different for each person. Ultimately, employees are responsible for their own wellbeing and shouldn’t rely on their employers to ensure it for them. However, HR leaders can encourage employees to maintain equilibrium between their personal and work lives through these practices:

  • Set an example.  HR leaders can influence the workforce through their approach to work. For instance, by taking a genuinely rejuvenating vacation, during which they disconnect from technology and reconnect to nature, friends, or family, they show personnel the importance of taking time off and making it sacred. As leaders, prioritizing self-care in their lives illustrates its significance to the workforce.  
  • Respect employees’ personal lives. Institute and adhere to a clear company policy that spells out the rules for contacting employees after hours. After a draining day at work, people need time to focus on their personal or family needs. Establishing a policy can help managers determine if a message is urgent enough to send or whether it can wait until the next day.  
  • Involve managers. Perhaps a manager has noticed inefficient work practices or time management issues among employees. Managers can provide extra individual training and team coaching, or reallocate the workload to others when necessary. When managers are in touch with how their employees experience and deal with their workload, they can better diagnose problems and implement effective solutions.
  • Make sure employees know about PTO. Paid time off and vacation exist to give employees a break. Inform employees about their PTO during their onboarding. Keep an updated schedule for PTO so employees can easily request time off and receive an answer.   

How can prioritizing work-life balance improve company culture?

Work-life balance can contribute to a healthy company culture in the long run. When employees take care of themselves and address their wellbeing, they can effectively balance their personal lives with their work lives, helping them contribute positive energy, higher morale, and a healthy work ethic towards the company culture.