This is a Guest post by Sean McMahon, from Search Laboratory.
Striking the right balance between a successful career and a happy home life can be difficult. While this has always been the case, new technology has blurred the lines, and can mean it’s hard for employees to compartmentalise these two very distinctly different aspects of life.
A recent survey by the Mental Health Foundation found that one-third of UK employees are unhappy about the time they devote to work, with over 40% feeling they neglect other aspects of their life as a result. So how can businesses and HR departments make sure that employees get the best of both worlds in a technology driven world?
Set targets together
Workers are happy when they’re being productive, and one sure-fire way to ensure everyone is being as productive as possible is by setting realistic targets collaboratively. Encourage management to work with employees on targets together. Look at calendars and set tasks and timelines, and involve them in the process of mapping out their own time – this way you can not only get a better grasp of how long a task will take each individual, but also have a better idea of what employees are doing. Furthermore you won’t end up bombarding them with ad-hoc tasks when they arrive at busy times. By creating a realistic schedule, you can also avoid employees spending too much of their spare time on work projects. If possible, keep all assignments within set working hours.
Be flexible with working hours
While concrete working hours give your business a routine and stability, they can also prove to be a barrier to getting a good work-life balance. For those employees with children and other commitments outside of work, there will be times when they need some flexibility with working hours. If you show a willingness to work with your staff on this, then they’ll appreciate you more as an employer, and will be happier in their position. Technology can help you to offer ‘work at home’ options for parents once a week; software like Sqwiggle can make working together from different locations easy and productive.
Create a positive and progressive environment
When your staff are at work you need to create an environment they feel comfortable working in. While elements like décor and room temperature may not seem massively important at first, they can actually have a big impact on morale. A sleek and modern office gives off a good impression to customers and clients, but also makes your employees feel more valued and professional. Similarly, with new technology and software. By giving your staff the best possible chance to work more efficiently, you’ll let them grow in their role and become a better asset to your company as a result.
Don’t be afraid to change
Businesses normally have set procedures that have developed as a result of habit or through trial and error. Either way, don’t be afraid to change it up on an individual basis. Each employee will have a different way of working and will react differently to different methods. Although procedures are important for quality assurance reasons, be reactive. Management is all about getting the best out of people, so find out how your staff work. Life coach Rasheed Ogunlaru believes this is a vital process to making staff efficient:
“Do they work best generating your own ideas or do they thrive bouncing them off others in a group brainstorm? Do they need to start scheduling time in a diary towards specific tasks, or can they manage several projects at once? Knowing how best your employees work and being mindful of approaching deadlines will prevent conflict and avoid too much overlap between home and work life.”
Looking after an employee’s health and well-being in the workplace is an important part of a business owner or HR professional’s job, but it is equally important to make sure you are giving them the best opportunity to have a life outside of work. Although our emails, schedules, and documents are now all readily accessible whether we’re at work or not, we shouldn’t let work and home life become one entity. By creating a motivated workforce that you understand, respect, and trust, you can ensure your employees are happy, both in the workplace and at home.
Sean McMahon is a content specialist and keen writer on a range of topics including marketing, human resources and technology.