Do you really encourage a work-life balance?

Human Resources exists to make sure employers get the most value out of their staff, and that employees feel satisfied in their positions.

In recent times, we have begun looking towards flexible working arrangements and other tools to create a more productive and satisfied workforce, and this does seem to be driving satisfaction. A recent study from US consultancy Eagle Hill found 64 per cent of the 400 workers surveyed agreed that work-life balance was the most important factor in job satisfaction, ranking higher than job security (59 per cent) and compensation (54 per cent).

Effective work-life programs can increase employee effort levels by 21 per cent.

But it is not just employees who are the winners. For instance, the Corporate Executive Board found in a 2008 report that organisations with effective work-life programs – meaning that they are not focussed on benefits and instead emphasise workload management tactics – are able to increase employee effort levels by 21 per cent and significantly discourage employees intent to leave.

While the supporting evidence is clear, many organisations have failed to properly implement such programs, and therefore miss out on many of the organisational benefits.

The disconnect between employees' and employers' perceptions of work-life balance and CareerArc collaborated on a research project early last year, drawing insights from both employers and employees. The 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study revealed that while 67 per cent of employers perceived their workers to have a good work-life balance, only 55 per cent of employees feel the same. In a similar light, 50 per cent of employers viewed workplace flexibility as a top priority for employees, but a markedly higher 75 per cent of employers saw this as number one. In fact, one of the only things both groups saw eye to eye on was the expectation that employees need to be available outside of work hours.

Should a flexible working arrangements encourage longer hours or a work-life balance?Should a flexible working arrangement encourage longer hours or a work-life balance?

Employers are clearly expecting more from their employees, but at the same time they are assuming any work-life programs will just work. Blindly expecting any initiative to prove successful without actively espousing and encouraging the principles behind it may have the opposite effect.

It's a challenge, but as demand for work-life balance grows, organisations must develop innovative strategies that ensure workers can find meaning both as at work and in their personal lives. According to Eagle Hill, over half of employees who were not satisfied with their work-life balance were looking to leave their job in the following 12 months. Alternatively, out of those that were satisfied, only 20 per cent had such plans.

For more information about engaging your staff with an effective work-life balance strategy, talk to Flexi Personnel today.