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Encouraging a healthy work-life balance

Article provided by Simply

As a business owner, you will know the value of keeping your employees happy. Chronic stress can negatively impact your staff’s mental health because it’s linked to a higher risk of depression, anxiety and insomnia. Making sure your staff members are content at work not only makes them less likely to leave, but leads to higher productivity, less sick leave – and a lot more fun.

The pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture is one of the biggest challenges to society’s mental health, and work-life balance is an important aspect of a healthy work environment. Maintaining work-life balance helps reduce stress and helps prevent burnout in the workplace.

A healthy work-life balance means different things to all of us. It’s not so much about splitting your time equally between work and leisure but making sure you feel fulfilled and content in all areas of your life. A healthy balance might involve meeting your deadlines at work while still having time for friends and hobbies, having enough time to sleep properly and eat well, and not worrying about work when you are at home.

So, as an employer, how do you keep your people happy? Here are five tips to encourage a healthy work-life balance in your business.

1. Keep to working hours

In this age of ever-connected smartphones, work communication can take over your life. Duncan Drennan, Founder of Engineer Simplicity encourages a healthy work life balance with his employees by respecting the boundaries of work hours. “Work hard and focus when you’re working, stop at the end of the day (don’t work overtime) and avoid sending messages to colleagues during their personal time”.

2. Be flexible

One of the benefits of having a smaller team is that you have a good understanding of each employee and their unique circumstances – such as demanding family commitments or long commutes. In these cases, being open to flexible hours or working from home can drastically improve someone’s work week.

3. Have healthy working practices

Staying healthy is hard in a busy life, especially when it’s relegated to after-work hours. Allowing your people to focus on health during their workday will help make their personal health goals more achievable  and it shows that you value their well-being. Encourage your team to punctuate the day with walking meetings, stretching breaks, mindfulness moments and meals away from their projects. If you can, find ways to promote exercise – think lunchtime walks, after-work soccer or even just interest in each other’s fitness activities.

4. Check in regularly

Encourage a culture of openness so your staff can speak up if they’re under too much pressure. One of the best small business tips for a happy workforce is to not assume that if one of your team members is struggling to juggle all of life’s balls, they’ll tell you about it. That’s why scheduling things like a regular fortnightly online meeting with each colleague where you review their tasks, their progress and very importantly their happiness levels, is a great way to stay connected. You can use this time to ask employees what would make their lives easier and encourage them to take leave if they haven’t done so recently.

5. Provide peace of mind

Stress brings anyone down a notch or 10 on the scale of happiness, and let’s face it, a small business environment can be stressful. One way of removing some pressure is by offering financial security to your employees and their families through employee benefits like life and funeral cover, retirement annuities, debt counselling and other support services.

Most importantly, be a role model to them. You can’t expect your team to knock off at 5 pm and keep their work-life balance in check if they know that you graft until eleven each night. Looking after your own work-life balance is as important as making sure your employees are happy – after all, you’re the heart of your small business.

Simply is a proud Partner of the NSBC