BlogOptimizing Employee Engagement through Work-Life Balance: An HR’s Guide

Optimizing Employee Engagement through Work-Life Balance: An HR’s Guide

12 April, 2024

Optimizing Employee Engagement through Work-Life Balance: An HR’s Guide

“Work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. The other four balls—family, health, friends, and integrity—are made of glass. If you drop one of these, it will be irrevocably scuffed, nicked, perhaps even shattered.”

—Gary Keller, Real Estate Entrepreneur  

Even as many companies have made the switch to hybrid work, most employees still struggle with maintaining a work-life balance. The reasons behind this are linked to various emerging work trends- firstly the prevailing high attrition burdens existing employees with increased workload, leaving them scrambling to meet expectations. Secondly, work technologies enabling remote work have permeated our private devices, ‘off-hours’, and residential spaces, resulting in a complete melding of personal and professional lives. A bad work-life balance is the 2nd most common reason they would be willing to turn down a job  

Work-Life Balance vs Work-Life Integration 

Working from home encouraged an ‘always-on’ work culture, wherein employees find it tempting to stay plugged in to finish off tasks in real-time. Finally, remote teams, especially those located across time zones, require employees to work at odd hours, further exacerbating fatigue and burnout. The new way of creating work-life ‘balance’ is being coined by hybrid and remotely working employees as well as all those who consider the terminology work-life balance inherently flawed. We’re all calling this new definition- “Work-Life Integration”. The future of work is moving beyond balance and towards something more rewarding and conducive: “work-life integration.” Work-life integration aims to bring together all aspects of life, including work, home, family requirements, personal interests, health, and well-being. It is the realization that everything is interconnected and must be viewed holistically rather than compartmentalizing aspects of one’s life. For example, a generation ago, employees were limited by regular work schedules. People would only undertake work-related activities during specific hours of the day, and once work was over, they might transfer to other activities. 

Why Push for a Better Work-Life Balance? 

Research has shown that highly engaged employees can be at a higher risk of attrition compared to even disengaged employees if they’re encouraged to work till the point of burnout. An ‘optimally engaged’ employee, according to HBR, is given the resources to manage and recover from the demands of their work. Therefore, digital transformation of the workplace must be accompanied by intentional checks and balances to ensure focused, productive work outcomes whilst allowing for increased employee wellness. This blog discusses 7 ways in which HR can support a better work-life balance for their people: 

1. Communicate the Importance 

Use the communication modules at your disposal to solidify your allegiance to better work-life balance for employees. This means leveraging external communications like the corporate website and social media as well as internal tools like your employee engagement software. Promotions can be employee videos discussing their positive work-life balance strategies or disabling certain work apps in pre-determined time slots. 

2. Promote Fun at Work 

Employee engagement initiatives like setting up hobby and interest forums, and hosting cultural festivities as well as online quizzes and contests are some great ways to encourage employees to unwind and infuse a fun element into day-to-day work. An employee engagement platform ensures that these activities can be held digitally for the entire company. 

3. Involve the Management 

Every new initiative needs a top-down endorsement to be seen as desirable. Rope in the senior management share regular communication about the vision of sustainable business growth through a productive, engaged workforce. This vision needs to be consistently linked with healthy work practices, including work-life balance. At the managerial level, this can be reinforced through rewarding outcomes over working hours and encouraging effective time management during work hours. 

4. Facilitate Effective Performance Feedback 

Make work more fulfilling by giving timely and specific positive reinforcement for certain behaviors and actions through a pre-determined R&R framework. Linking these behaviors to organizational values and goals can be even more effective in boosting employee work satisfaction. Higher employee satisfaction will result in an enhanced sense of well-being, which in turn will spill into other areas of life. 

5. Include Non-Cash Rewards 

There are times when it is paramount for employees to go the extra mile and exert a high amount of discretionary effort to get things done. In this case, employee rewards can take the form of compensatory time off, wellness perks and even paid vacations depending on the effort involved. Even a pat on the back or a personal note on an employee recognition tool can improve morale and combat burnout. 

6. Include Employee Wellness activities and resources: Investing in employee wellness programs and resources demonstrates a commitment to supporting employees’ physical, mental, and emotional well-being. HR can organize activities such as yoga classes, mindfulness workshops, or access to counseling services to help employees manage stress and maintain a healthy work-life balance. Additionally, providing resources on nutrition, exercise, and stress management can empower employees to take proactive steps toward improving their overall well-being. 

7. Rewards and Recognition, amplified: 

Recognizing and rewarding employees for their hard work and dedication can boost morale and motivation, contributing to a positive work environment. HR can incorporate a reward and recognition platform that highlights employees’ achievements and contributions and gamifies special days along with awards which will help in fostering a culture of appreciation and respect. Gratifi can help you implement this, seamlessly!  

Conclusion  

The goal of better work-life balance or better work-life integration is to make employees feel like they’re in control of their lives and can successfully balance the various roles they play at work and home, both if not more than with equal efficiency and importance.  It is the bedrock of strong employee engagement practices that make them feel valued as not just professionals but well-rounded human beings. Given the paradigm shift in work trends with ‘quiet quitting’ (disengagement due to burnout), ‘moonlighting’ (having multiple sources of employment without the knowledge of the primary employer), and the ‘gig economy’ (freelancing) becoming buzzwords, companies would be wise to prioritize effective talent development practices. Stay tuned for upcoming blogs on these interesting trends! 

Looking to enhance employee wellness through robust engagement tools? Connect with us for a walkthrough of our employee R&R and engagement platform and meet us at the SHRM India Tech Conference’24 in Hyderabad on 9th and 10th May!  

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