What’s your best advice for how to build a company culture that prioritizes a healthy work-life balance? What’s one step a leader needs to take?
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.
1. Set the Example for Creating Boundaries
To create a company culture that prioritizes work-life balance, it’s important to set an example by creating boundaries with your team around when it’s not OK to contact you, and encourage them to also set boundaries. For example, if it’s outside of work hours, if someone is out of the office or if my team is on holiday break, I don’t contact them unless it’s an emergency.
2. Plan Events That Allow for Rejuvenation
Showing up at work day in and day out while trying to keep the needle moving may take a toll and affect the well-being of your employees. So, host events for them where they can relax and have a fun time with their friends or family. This will be a great way to foster work-life balance and boost employees’ morale.
3. Encourage Healthy Sleep Schedules
Often, there is no need to burn the midnight oil. Observe if employees are sending messages or emails during late hours and, if so, have a discussion with them. While certain deadlines are important, having a healthy sleep habit is better for long-term success.
4. Make Work-Life Balance a Core Value
Align policies, communicate expectations and integrate balance into the company’s ethos. Demonstrate that work-life balance goes beyond employees and extends to customers, suppliers, investors, the industry and society — a holistic commitment. Lead by example, ensuring leaders prioritize it and don’t ever compromise it.
5. Implement Flexible Work Policies
A crucial step a leader needs to take is to implement flexible work policies, such as remote work options and flexible schedules, and to actively promote the utilization of these policies without any stigma attached. Lead by example, demonstrating and encouraging boundaries like reasonable working hours and respecting personal time.
6. Create a Healthier Work Environment
Take the junk out of the office! You’re not doing your employees any favors by setting them up to crash. Replace the soda with water. Replace the TV with a Peloton. Install standing desks. Our environment affects the way we think and the way we feel. The “quick fix” hurts employee performance in the long run. Give people the tools to perform at a high level and to sustain that performance.
7. Provide and Encourage Plenty of Time Off
Leaders need to encourage employees to take time off and support them by not calling after working hours or setting up tasks that need extra work on the weekends. It’s up to the leadership to stand by their values and embody work-life balance. Also, provide enough PTO, mental health days and other opportunities for people to rest, work on personal matters and recover.
8. Measure Progress Using KPIs Instead of Hours Worked
To build a company culture that prioritizes a healthy work-life balance, it’s best that you stop assessing your employees based on how many hours they spend at work and start measuring their progress using key performance indicators. If your employees are meeting the deadlines, delivering high-quality work and keeping up with the set indicators, don’t question them about early clock-outs or frequent leaves.
9. Ask for Employee Feedback and Suggestions
For work-life balance, it’s important that you reach out to your employees and ask for their suggestions. This will help you get acquainted with their preferences and allow you to identify the key areas that require work. This information will help you tailor your company’s culture to your employees’ expectations and foster a healthy work-life balance.
10. Set Achievable Goals
Employers can make it easier to achieve work-life balance by making sure that work is streamlined and effective. Specifically, don’t just tell employees to complete a task. Instead, make sure that they understand the task and what is needed to achieve it. Employers also need to be extra diligent in eliminating time-wasting meetings, communications and projects.
11. Support Self-Care
A leader can advocate for meaningful self-care activities to maintain a work-life balance. This can include encouraging frequent breaks at work to avoid monotony or making PTO mandatory to prevent burnout. Flexible work policies like telecommuting can help team members function productively without the added stress of travel or office politics, thus improving personal productivity.
12. Be More Vocal
Employees need validation and support to have a better work-life balance. This means that you need to be vocal as a leader and encourage your team to take time off. Better yet, insist that your team members take some time off when you know they can use it. For example, they might mention having a child at home who’s sick or talk about some other issue. When you verbally support people, they’ll be happier.