When work and life balance, people feel well. Achieving a positive balance between labor and living promotes positive well-being and work productivity. Employees work better when they arrive physically refreshed and emotionally sound. Employers find themselves taking on more responsibility for ensuring this balance.
The social contract among free and mixed economies expects employees to perform labor for equitable compensation. That compensation should support the basic, physiological life needs of workers. In competitive economies, the payment should also provide workers and families relaxation, healthcare, education, social advancement, and more.
But workplace and external lives do not divide neatly in any work situation. People who work two or three low-paying jobs do not have a work-life balance. Small businesses and family-run businesses see employees working long hours and weekends without a work-life balance. Good balance is more subtle than that. For instance, too much time spent on the boat you have always dreamed of will through the balance off.
A healthy work-life balance weighs inputs against outputs. It sometimes sacrifices personal pleasure for workplace achievement. At other times, it puts personal, family, and social commitments first.
Employers have dispersed employees during the COVID pandemic lockdowns and quarantines. Many employers will retain remote work or shift work to hybrid frameworks. Many of these newly distant workers have found balance in working at home but working from home has disrupted the balance for many others.
Employers, understanding that work-life balance affects customer-centric achievement and bottom-line results, seek to promote employee well-being using the best lessons of life.
Employees have to arrive for work clean and sober. It serves no one well for them to bring their internal and external demons to the job. The employer has no responsibility for what they do off the job. If employees find their behavior comes at the expense of their work, they should change that behavior or seek help.
However, employees everywhere and every day find themselves overwhelmed by personal loss, poor health, tragedy and grief, and family issues. The death of a partner or child will cloud an employee’s focus indefinitely. The cost to rehabilitate a drug-addicted child can crush a person. A doctor’s notice of a grave health condition will knock an otherwise valuable employee off course. It would benefit employees to seek counsel and support in situations such as these.
Otherwise, employees should report for work eager to collaborate and deliver achievements reflecting their respective talents and aligned with organizational goals. Employees might take on new responsibilities to strengthen their balance:
Employers have learned that happy employees work with more engagement, produce better quality, and secure and serve customers more effectively. They have accepted the need to treat stress and burnout as absolute risks. This realization has pushed them to take more accountability for their employees’ life-work balance.
Employers used to recommend a local gym where employees could exercise at a discount. They would promote that as a work-life balance program. Today, company’s offer more extensive programs to help employees and retain talent.
State and Federal laws spell out the employer’s responsibilities regarding the health and safety of employees. However, leading employers have stepped up and leaned into helping employees reach and sustain their potential with supplemental benefits, coaching, mentoring, and leadership. Organization leaders have found that achieving a work-life balance that promotes positive well-being benefits employees and employers.