The Importance of Work-Life Balance
The Importance of Work-Life Balance
Is there an “overtime = hard working employee” mindset in your organization?
I think many of us can agree that there is a culture in some companies where it feels like a sin to leave the office on time. Sounds familiar?
Is Long Work Hours Really Necessary?
Living in a country where heavy traffic is rampant, long work hours will leave us little to no time to do what what we want, to spend time with family, to hang out with friends. If employees are missing out on the most important things in life because of these, it begs the question “Is long hours really necessary?”
I’ve seen companies that require employees to work 9am-7pm from Mon-Fri, then 9am-4pm on Saturdays. For me, this sucks, and will have a negative impact on employees, especially to young professionals who has a lot of years ahead of them. Instead of being able to live life, and experience a lot, they may get stuck behind the desk and regret most their life on their deathbed.
That may sound like an over dramatization, but we still think that long hours is unnecessary and may drive away the next generation of the most talented candidates from your organization as a result.
Effects of Long Hours To Employees
Long work hours affect mental, physical, and social health.
- Increased Health Problems
This includes increased mental health issues, anxiety, depression, heavy alcohol consumption
- Decreased Productivity
Longer work hours plus work on Saturdays brings fatigue to employees. They will be too tired to perform at their best ability. Poor work-life balance may also lead to presenteeism – where the employee is physically at work, but his or her mind is somewhere else, not on the job.
- Increased Absenteeism
Absenteeism is the when an employee is regularly staying away from work without good reason. Ever tried to fill for a sick leave just to catch up on sleep then play video games all day? This is one example.
- Increased Turnover Rates
Fatigue from too much overtime and the lack of work-life balance will eventually catch up on employees. By then, some will decide that they don’t want to stay in that kind of life for long, and may leave to join another organization.
How To Promote Work-Life Balance As An HR?
- Flexi Time
Flexi time allows employees to adjust their work hours according to their social activities. Being able to adjust work hours also means that employees don’t need to go through the hell of rush hour every morning and after work – which contributes to stress build up.
- Remote Work
In some developed countries, digital nomads are becoming a trend. Digital nomads are people who work remotely from foreign countries, coffee shops, or work spaces. While remote work sounds fun, it cannot apply to all kinds of work. But some companies (again, foreign owned) in the Philippines now offer remote work for 20% of their employees weekly work hour.
- Encourage Efficiency
Limit distractions and interruptions especially in open office spaces, allow employees to take mental breaks, and provide the right tools such as automation softwares.
- Advocate Health & Wellness
Long work hours often force employees to sacrifice health and fitness. Offer discount for gym memberships, host weekly zumba classes, or sponsor sports clubs in your company. This also promotes you company image.
- Keep an Eye Out for Burnout
One of your key functions is to be responsible for your employees’ well being. Every employee will not admit being overworked or stressed, so it is up to you to recognize if your employees need more balance.
Implications of Work-Life Balance To Employees and The Organization
Forward-thinking organizations are aware that work-life balance has a bigger impact to the organization as a whole, not just employees.
Effects of Work-life Balance to Employees:
- Motivation leading to better output.
- Improved focus and concentration
- Improved health and well being
- Employee loyalty
- Better time management
Effects of Work-life Balance to Businesses:
- Lower turnover rates and minimized recruitment cost.
- More applicants by being an organization that people want to work for.
- A motivated workforce
- More productive and efficient workplace
Work-life balance > Long work hours
For Employees, leave office on time and get out there. Carpe diem, seize the day and make your life extraordinary. Don’t be one of them losers with no life outside work, just make sure that you are excellent in doing your job and that you are producing quality outputs.
For HR practitioners, long work hours does not equal to being more productive and more outputs. Don’t patronize employees who stay late on a regular basis, because in reality, that means they are not efficient enough to do their job on time. What you should do instead is promote workplace efficiency and advocate work life balance.
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