I know far too many company leaders that avoid time off or other perks that they believe will put a dent in production, with no real evidence that that will in fact happen. With attraction and retention on the top of most employer’s to-do lists, it’s the perfect time to create your own competitive advantage offering candidates and employees an improved work-life balance this summer. Here are a few ways to create a more balanced environment for your team, while increasing productivity, creativity and overall workplace satisfaction.
You would be amazed at how strict some companies are about bending the hours, or even minutes (or maybe you wouldn’t be). I have a friend with a full time job and three kids. His lunch hour was just about the only feasible time to go to the gym. That didn’t leave quite enough time to get there, workout, shower and get back on time. When he asked for a measly 15 extension to his lunch (that he would happily tack on to the beginning of his day), his request was denied.
“Because” or “Those are the rules” are crappy answers and they are crappy rules. Guess what, that friend now works for a company with far more flexibility. His daily workouts leave him refreshed, energized and working harder.
Work from Home Options
According to a Gallup poll on the engagement of remote workers, working remotely less than 20% of the time is very good for engagement. We also know that working remotely frees up time for the worker and saves the company resources. So why are so many employers so reluctant to give it a try?
If you do nothing else in the name of employee engagement and satisfaction this summer, give remote working a try, even if just for a couple of days per month. If it doesn’t work for your organization, can it! You might be pleasantly surprised at just how much your workers will appreciate the empowerment and responsibility.
Have a potluck day, bring your dog to work day, yoga lunch day or movies at work day. Or make up your own company holiday! Finding that balance between total distraction and a completely rad place to work isn’t as hard as you would think. Employees appreciate any effort to make their work environment better, and they’ll do what they can to ensure that their employer is motivated to continue making the effort.
Encourage Outdoor Time
A culture of accountability and empowerment will only be possible when managers loosen the leash. If an employee wants to take a conference call outside, let them. Encourage workers to take lunch outdoors with parch benches. Hikes boost creativity and make for great brainstorming sessions. Health and fitness expert Mike Sisson said in his blog:
“What if you could work outside, commune with nature as you typed, feel the grass underfoot as you brainstorm, and hear not the drone of the overhead lighting but rather the chirp of the bird, the caw of the crow, and the overpowering stillness of the outdoors? There’s very little direct research dealing with the effect of working outside versus indoors, but I think we can make some predictions based on the considerable evidence for the benefits of being outside in general.”
If that doesn’t inspire your to grab your laptop and skip to the nearest exit, I don’t know what will.
Don’t shy away from offering any rewards or recognition because you believe it will harm productivity. Try it out first. Use real metrics to gauge what your work-life balance efforts are doing in your workforce. This is a sincere plea on behalf of your workforce to do away with “just because” rules. If the same amount of work can get done, at the same caliber, why not make it more fun or relaxing? Have an energized summer everyone!
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