How to Foster Work-Life Balance in Remote Work Environment
Being a manager and in charge of everything, you do everything possible to keep each of your employees happy and productive. However, it is not that easy.
Sometimes, if there are large projects, they can consume a lot of time. So, as a result of it, this can lead to nibbling away at personal liberties of your remote employees. And eventually you find that they are coping with burnout.
Although, you might think that this happens mostly in all organizations, it's not something you should promote or even allow it. However, how can managers ensure their teams maintain an efficient balance between work and life?
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Here are a few tips for fostering a healthy work-life balance at your workplace:
What is Work-Life Balance, and What’s the Importance of It?
Work-life balance refers to balancing work and personal life. It's about balancing home and work stresses.
It is possible for an imbalance to occur when one side becomes overbearing. When an employee is overburdened with work, they will work till very late every day.
They are forced to give up their hobbies, family, and friends. In the end, this results in frustration and stress. In other words, the once committed employee is now dissatisfied.
Various factors can contribute to work-life imbalances. This is often caused by an increase in workload or being assigned complex tasks beyond their capabilities.
Both work and life suffer when there is an imbalance between the two. You'll see a decrease in productivity, efficiency, and drive among your workers. It doesn't take long for them to become distant and disengaged. It can eventually cause burnout, which is responsible for a variety of physical as well as mental ailments.
You'll have to deal with the following issues if your workforce is burned out:
- Insufficient productivity
- Lower revenue potential and increased costs and recruiting and training new employees
- Low employee retention
So, all these things make it essential that you keep an eye on your employees to see if they are managing their life and work sufficiently or not.
Methods to Help Employees Accomplish a Good Work-Life Balance
1: Provide Flexible Hours to Your Remote Employees
While working remotely employees also have to take care of their household tasks along with their professional work.
Thus, this can become one of the main reasons that they are not able to complete their work on time. Managers need to understand that this happens as remote employees often have restricted time to unbind themselves, which can also ultimately lead to burnout.
- Therefore, this becomes more than important for management as it must provide work flexibility in which employees can work without any stress and have a comfortable timing schedule to get the work done.
- However, it is also important to keep in mind that managers should refrain from setting strict standards that force employees to put in nonstop working hours.
- Allowing employees to take breaks during working hours helps them to avoid boredom and keeps them active. This would make sure that the professional and personal life of employees is on the right track and also can help increase their enthusiasm.
With the help of project management tools such as ProofHub, ClickUp, and Wrike, managers or team leads are able to approximate the hours invested in projects, and also precisely monitor the time of their employees.
When the project is completed, then it becomes easier with these tools to determine with greater accuracy how long it would take to complete a certain project.
2: Communicate with Employees on Regular Basis
To maintain the work-life balance of your employees, communicating on all mediums is important. This process should include clear communication from leaders to the heads of departments, managers as well as among other employees. You must keep in mind that many workplace failures happen because of poor communication.
So, you have to make a communication strategy that includes creating plans to keep in touch with your remote employees on a regular basis. This way, you can help your employees to have a healthy work-life balance and they would also know what is expected of them.
3: Recognize Your Remote Employees
There have been studies showing that if employees think they are undervalued, then you would find them disengaged. This should concern you as disengaged employees are more likely to quit their job.
Keeping employees satisfied and healthy, including their mental health, can help reduce employee turnover and improve employee retention.
Recognizing the work of remote workers and creating an environment where they want to work are among the many strategies managers should employ. This includes coming up with creative ideas to celebrate employees remotely.
As a result, your employees will be more productive, will have a better work-life balance, and your company will achieve better business results.
As soon as the present situation is rectified, we can expect to see employees back at their workplaces working with the same enthusiasm as before. Employees now have more work than ever, as a result of such situations requiring additional measures.
For this reason, leaders need to recognize their efforts or find new ways of appreciating them. Employees' morale can be boosted and their performance can be improved by a few simple words of recognition/appreciation.
4: Put in Place a Program to Promote Employee Wellbeing
Work-life balance can be greatly improved by employee well-being initiatives. Employees can take some time off for well-being activities, develop healthy habits, and even create a great teamwork environment.
Employee wellbeing programs are not only great at de-stressing your employees, but they are cost-effective as well. As a result, it can help reduce absenteeism and productivity losses. Moreover, most managers agree that a company's culture and employee engagement are positively impacted by well-being programs.
5: Allow Employees to Provide Their Feedback
There is no one-size-fits-all solution to achieving remote-work-life balance. What your employees need might be totally different from what another company requires.
To learn more about your workplace culture and policies, survey your employees at least annually. Consider offering perks such as paid gym memberships or childcare stipends to support their work-life balance.
While implementing changes, make sure that you monitor key performance indicators such as employee productivity, retention as well as employee engagement to find out whether they impact the bottom line.
6: Help Set Up a Dedicated Workspace
Maintaining a healthy work-life balance necessitates discipline and this can include inspiring your employees to foster a productive atmosphere at home.
In the office, you experience an environment where everything has a work-related vibe. But on the other hand, working-from-home employees envision what it might be like to work from home. They undoubtedly imagine themselves using their phones or doing basic chores at home.
However, most remote employees can't actually function productively in a distracting atmosphere. They require a dedicated workspace where they can concentrate fully on their office work.
Here’s what you can do:
- There is only one thing, the workplace needs to be organized and dedicated to work. And there must be no outside distractions. For example, employees while working from the office experience a structured atmosphere with all their coworkers and managers. Thus, they are liberated from the routine interruptions of working from home.
- Working from the office in a structured way, employees don’t have to pay attention to their chores at home or the stack of assignments their children are falling behind on.
- Your employees will stay focused by having an office-like environment in their homes, enabling them to separate business from other responsibilities, such as kids, household duties, and hobbies.
- Setting up clear boundaries between work and home will help your employees mentally transition from house life to office life.
- One more thing that managers can do to maintain a productive work environment even when the employees are working from home is to help them update their home offices. This can create a perfect atmosphere for them to concentrate only on their work.
7: Keep in Touch with Your Employees on a Regular Basis
Managers need to put in extra effort if there are remote employees to keep a robust relationship with them. This means that if there is any issue, your team's remote collaboration would be so much easier!
Managers can go for arranging one-on-one conversations via audio or video conferencing every two weeks or twice a week. Constructively discussing your objectives and achievements with them can also offer you a great perspective into how they are doing.
8: Find Out How Your Employees Feel by Checking In
Generally, employees are hesitant to say that their workplace is affecting their health and well-being or affecting their work-life balance in a negative way.
In order to find out what your employees think could be improved, you can conduct confidential surveys and check in with them. With these kinds of surveys, managers are able to know how their remote employees are feeling about each sector of the organization.
So, as a result of it, management is able to find out what things are impacting the well-being of remote employees, therefore enabling them to make improvements in a timely and efficient manner.
9: Make an Effort to Show That You Care
The most precious asset of any organization is its employees. Managers should show it in the terms of new measures taken for their well-being. Health and safety-related questions from employees can be answered by companies through online sessions with doctors or nutritionists. This type of session will boost employee motivation, particularly in these challenging economic times.
10: Vacation Time Should be Encouraged
Encouraging vacation time for your remote employees does not mean that they should go on a trip to France or have a great time on the beach. It means that employees can have paid time off from the job.
The time frame is set in which the employees can have their paid time off. So, they do not have to bother about spending on their expenses. And yes, managers should set parameters for this benefit as employees just can’t have paid time off from work whenever they think they should.
- If the employees want to have paid time off, they need to accumulate paid time off and request it from managers in advance.
- Allowing them to take paid time off, they are able to break up the monotony of their workdays and are able to relax as well as reduce the chance of developing heart disease.
You also need to remember that encouraging your employee to take time off also requires that you also take time off yourself. The importance of setting a good example cannot be overstated. Seeing what you do as a manager can help create an atmosphere where your employees can look for a break if they need one.
- If you refuse to take time off, you create a certain attitude and energy in your workplace, indicating that nobody must take a break.
- Employing a vacation policy will help your employees maintain a healthy work-life balance. Employee burnout and work-related stress can also be prevented with this program.
11: Offer Relaxed Time with Other Team Members
As a manager, you should schedule a free time that your employees can utilize to unwind and connect with their colleagues. If you provide free time together for your employees, then the balance between work and life can improve. This can be as simple as fostering non-work related discussions when the time is appropriate.
Here is how this can help:
- Helping remote employees to make their home office a relaxed workplace can result in benefiting your organization as it boosts job satisfaction, therefore making employees more productive as well. This way your employees would love to work as they can have a more enjoyable time with their colleagues.
- Providing opportunities like this where employees are able to relax in their home office atmosphere and where remote employees get together on online channels like Zoom and have lunch and chat together, would help encourage them to work even more smartly.
- As providing free time brings employees together, brilliant ideas can be created by them and then can be applied to tasks as well as projects.
Nevertheless, you can incorporate your employee’s relaxed time in however you feel will be most productive.
It might be interesting to ask each employee what they've experienced this week in a roundtable question. Or maybe let employees introduce their families during meetings.
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The above-explained points seem really simple and easy to implement. But managers need to work really hard on these as most managers find it really hard to do so. It largely happens because these solutions necessitate managers and employees to change their perspectives and define what it signifies to be a perfect employee and manager.
While working remotely, most of the employees feel isolated as they are unable to interact with their colleagues during lunch breaks or team activities. Feeling of isolation can also eventually lead your employees to depression, therefore it is the manager's duty to encourage their employees to have free time.
It is obvious that employees working remotely also want a great work-life balance for their well-being and in order to generate the best results for the organization. Managers play an important role in providing remote work-life balance benefits and policies.
So, managers should learn how to identify burnout. Check-in with your employees regularly to prevent it and find out what you can do to help your remote employees by talking to them.