It used to be much easier to switch off from work. 5 pm would hit, and you would physically leave your work at the office as you made your way home after a hard day’s work. Of course, developments in technology have dramatically changed our society. Now, with mobile phones and laptops as our key devices, our work is now portable. Wherever we are in the world, we can access our work at the touch of a button. This means we no longer leave our work at the office – we literally take it with us.
This rise in digital technology has meant that our working lives have become much faster. People value speed and convenience, and with technology at our fingertips, it can become all too easy to expect employees to pick up work as and when situations demand. However, it’s important to draw a line between what’s acceptable as overtime, and understanding when overworking is having a detrimental effect on an employee’s mental health. More than 40% of employees are now neglecting other aspects of their life because of work. This raises the importance of work-life balance in the modern world, and what it means for both employees and employers alike.
Encouraging employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance can have a truly positive impact on their performance at work. You’ve probably heard the phrase ‘an employee who feels appreciated will always go the extra mile’ – and you’ve probably done so yourself. Think about when you felt your time was valued by your manager or organization. You probably felt more driven to produce great results for them, right?
Creating a company culture that values and encourages employees to maintain a healthy work-life balance can have a powerfully positive impact on not just staff well-being, but even the productivity and success of the organization as a whole.
With work no longer confined to a desk in the office, flexible working patterns have seen a surge in the last couple of years, with a huge 73% of people now working either part-time or with some form of flexible working arrangement. The benefits of being able to fit our work seamlessly around our personal lives are widely acknowledged, and flexible working patterns are in higher demand from employees than ever before. In fact, a huge 54% of people said they would move to a different company if it gave them greater flexibility.
A lot of this demand does stem from the need for a better work-life balance. It’s therefore vital to take steps to acknowledge the effects of unhealthy working patterns within your workplace. If your company culture runs off the energy where overworking is deemed the ‘norm’, employees are likely to feel pressured into overworking in order to prove their worth.
Rather than having burnt-out employees, flexible working actually gives people the opportunity to perform better than if they were restricted to their office permanently. For example, if someone needs to attend an important personal appointment, flexible working gives them the opportunity to work from home before their appointment. This actually improves productivity as the time they would have spent travelling back into the office can now be spent working remotely. Introducing flexible working options does require trust in your employees. However, showing your team that you value their work-life balance and trust them will result in employees who feel valued, and thus more willing to go the extra mile.
Flexible working can be introduced in many different forms, whether this is daily flexible working hours or even remote working. Take the time to understand how flexible working can fit within your organization, so both you and your team can reap the benefits that this flexibility can offer.
Workplace stress is naturally unavoidable at times. However, having a constant level of stress during work can have a hugely detrimental effect on our health and work performance, and in extreme cases, can lead to burnout. Burnout is the result of tremendous stress, which can come as a result of an overflowing workload, or a lack of rest. The World Health Organization have even recognised it as an official diagnosis, which they define as:
“a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed.”
We all know how difficult it can be to switch off, especially with our work always within the reach of our fingertips. With the ability to take our work with us wherever we go, it can be all too easy to check your emails before you go to sleep – and before you know it, you’ve spent an extra hour working and not truly resting. Encourage your team to take the time to mentally (and literally) switch off from their devices and allow themselves time to rest. This will not only improve their focus but keep them more fresh, alert and ready to take on their work with more creativity and efficiency. Employees who are running on half-steam are less likely to be as productive or quick-thinking as their well-rested counterparts.
Quality rest plays a vital role in keeping us healthy, alert and energized. However, physical rest only plays one part of the role. Being able to mentally rest and step away from work can be a very different challenge. When our work-life balance is wavering off the scales, it can be harder to truly relax. However, a well-rested brain can spark wonders for your imagination.
With the consumer world saturated with content all vying for your audience’s attention, the pressure to stand out from the crowd is more important than ever. Thus, this requires creative and innovative thinking from across all departments in your organization. We know that having a healthy work-life balance keeps you feeling more alert – and it’s this focus and energy that helps employees to proactively come up with innovative and creative solutions to problems in a more efficient manner than if they are feeling mentally drained.
Whilst on the surface you may look at overworking as being more productive, true productivity, in fact, relies on quality, not quantity. For example, if an employee is working a 10-hour day, but exhausted from a late night of working, they’re less likely to produce quality work during that time that than someone who works for 8 hours after switching off the night before. Working smarter not longer is the key to unlocking your team’s top-performing productivity. Of course, going the extra mile by putting in the extra hours during busy periods is always appreciated and can be done with efficiency. However, when these extra hours begin to consistently encroach on your team’s personal lives, it will ultimately have a negative impact on the innovative ideas and output they can provide to their daily work projects.
If you’re ready to embrace a healthier work-life balance for your team, Ayoa helps to keep teams and individuals connected across any work project – no matter where they’re based. Discover more about how Ayoa helps remote teams and sign up for free today.