The role of work-life balance in employee engagement

Employees who feel they have a good work-life balance work 21% harder than those who don’t, according to a survey by the Corporate Executive Board, which represents 80% of Fortune 500 companies.

Employee happiness and employee engagement have become major business issues now. The Qustn Cafe has discussed how issues like employee engagement and workplace culture actually impact business revenues. In this era, if organizations do not ensure ways to balance their employee’s work and personal life, it might cost them heavily. If you want to hire and retain your employees, you need to give them flexible options that suit their needs. Having a good balance between work and personal life not only improves overall productivity, but also keeps employee morale and motivation levels up. Employee engagement efforts mainly aim towards achieving better output, managing demands and making employees feel more valued. Employee engagement through a variety of means like trainings, onboarding, constant interactions and feedback can drastically improve work-life balance and could be the most effective ways to keep employees engaged, committed and productive.

What is work-life balance?

“I find that I am at my best professionally when I am well-rested and have time away from email to actually think.”

~ Brian Halligan, CEO – HubSpot

This is the case not just with the top level management but with employees at all levels. Regular breaks, recreational activities and informal interactions keep the output rates high.

The advent of technology has given rise to the popularity of the idea of a mobile and remote workforce. If you want to ensure employee engagement, you can definitely not ignore the choices and priorities of the millennial workforce. It’s a choice that a worker makes on the basis of his career aspirations and accordingly manages the amount of time that he spends at work and otherwise. The concept seems simple and attainable, but the question is “Is there a mid-way..Is there a tool that tells you when to stop?” It is indeed tough to make this balancing choice and ensure that neither of the two aspects of your life suffer.

How does work-life balance impact employee engagement?

Being busy is the in thing today. Everybody around is busy at work and not being busy is a rare phenomenon. This is because increasing workload and too many goals make it difficult to draw the line between work and life. The line seems blurry to most who are desperately looking to create a balance between work and their personal lives and do not have much control over the amount of time that they spend at work. How people structure their day varies from profession to profession, some jobs are more demanding and time consuming than others. Hence, what helps create a balance might differ from person to person or organization to organization. There are no set of rules to follow to get that balance, look for what works best for you and your team. However, it is very important to find the way out, else the work load overflowing in personal space might negatively impact the overall performance of a company.

It is very important for an employee to feel engaged. An engaged employee, who feels valued at work, feels that the game is fair, tends to be more productive(more output for less input) than the rest. A happy and engaged employee might be able to deliver more in less time and successfully achieve a work-life balance. As per experts, sense of achievement is as important as sense of enjoyment. Some days one achieves more, while on other days one enjoy more. Striking a balance between the two helps employees excel professionally as well as personally. But how does one strike this balance? The person most responsible for this is the employee himself, however, the employer can also plays a key role in ensuring both are achieved at acceptable levels. Companies must find ways to keep employees happy while they are working and get enough time for family, friends and recreation.

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Time and self-management is the key

Effective time management involves making the best use of your available time, speeding up work, ensuring quality doesn’t suffer and also that work doesn’t crawl up into your personal time. It is important to train employees to ensure timely delivery of work and avoid over-time as much as possible. Focus on efficiency is the key to improving performance and managing time. It is important to prioritize work and spend the right amount of time on every task. Training programs must train employees in prioritizing work and making them understand how much time should be spent on each task. Employee engagement programs along with training and development can help instil a sense of ownership of work among employees and give them tools to improve performance. Along with time management, self-management is also important. Employee engagement initiatives need to provide opportunities for employees to become the captain of their own ships, manage themselves, get time to enjoy their social and personal lives and enjoy themselves at work too!

Is employee engagement possible without work-life balance?

It is clear from various studies that if an employee is highly engaged and well rewarded, he will go that extra mile to achieve a business goal. So, it is important for an employer to care about his employee’s happiness and motivation level at work. HR managers should create employee engagement strategies that support and appreciate the extra effort that employees put in to get things done at the workplace. Today, evidently there is much more pressure on a worker, he is loaded with tasks and finds it difficult to deliver all in the given time. However, rewards and recognitions are also very important but should not be the last solution. Along with these, as a part of employee engagement initiative, employees must be adequately compensated for the extra hours they spend and such compensations need not always be monetary. It has been seen that non-monetary benefits have a deeper and long term impact on the staff. To prevent that extra work does not take a toll on one’s mental and physical health, companies must ensure that long working hours are curtailed to as much as possible. Giving time off is appreciated by all and increases the productivity. Rather than trying to squeeze the most out of employees, it is necessary to set realistic targets for them.

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