Finding creative examples of work-life balance initiatives for your employees can be difficult, especially with remote schooling and working from home.
Since the pandemics start, we have all been reminded of how important it is to be able to take care of yourself and your loved ones, and as an employer, you're in the unique position to actually be able to help your employees improve their work-life balance and feel more in control of their time. Doing so can also help attract and retain talent, so if you're eager to see improvements in morale, teamwork, and production – this resource is for you.
12 Examples of Work-Life Balance Initiatives
Here are 12 examples of work-life balance initiatives for you to consider. Let's dive in.
1. Create flexible leave policies.
In recent years, many organizations have changed their leave policies.
Instead of offering specific amounts of sick or vacation days, they’ve combined them into a general category called PTO (paid time off).
Creating flexible leave policies is a work-life balance initiative employees truly value, as they don’t feel like they have to account for how they're using their time off.
2. Engage with your community.
Whether you’re all working in a single location or are spread across the country (or world!), your employees want to feel connected to their community.
So, create opportunities for your employees to engage with the communities either in person or virtually. You might consider sponsoring a local organization or an activity, such as volunteering for a food bank.
Getting employees involved together strengthens your team.
3. Foster a healthy work environment (even when remote!)
Work can contribute to health problems, especially if employees spend most of their time sitting in front of a screen. Finding ways to get your team more active is a great example of a strong work-life balance initiative.
You could offer a stipend to employees so that they can purchase standing desks or other office materials that might improve their work setup. Additionally, you could look into sponsoring gym memberships or offering healthy events through the company, such as after-hours yoga.
Don’t forget the importance of mental health!
Encourage your employees to mark off time on their calendars for meditation, therapy, exercise, and so on. By putting it on their calendars, other team members will know not to bother them during that time.
In our recent podcast interview with Jay Sylvester, an EVP, Creative Director from Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, Jay talked about he encourages his team to have meetings where they discuss things outside of work. Since the pandemic has made many feel isolated, Jay found that this type of group catch-up made his team feel better connected, and thus helped promote trust, friendships, and positive group work.
Finally, if you have snacks in the workplace, make sure some of them are healthy. If people are WFH, send out some care packages with snacks!
4. Train your managers to help.
Managers are the leaders in your organization best positioned to help employees improve their work-life balance.
Train your managers to look for problems such as burnout and overwork. Work on improving their coaching skills and allow managers to offer specific benefits to employees who are struggling.
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Similarly, teach your managers to be grateful leaders. Not only with this naturally encourage greater work-life balance, but it will also create better leadership and accountability.
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5. Offer flexible scheduling.
Now that our world is so connected, it’s not always necessary for employees to adhere to a strict 9-to-5 schedule.
Explore ways to let your employees have more scheduling flexibility. You might want to go so far as to change into a results-oriented work environment, where people can work as many or as few hours as necessary to complete their projects.
One other thing to consider is a job share or part-time options. Some employees may be unable to commit to a full-time job but are able to contribute half-time. Look into whether that makes sense for your company.
6. Create a family-friendly work environment.
“Family-friendly” can mean many different things, depending on your line of work. You probably wouldn't want to have a “bring-your-child-to-work” day in a factory.
Regardless, looking for ways to become more family-friendly is another great work-life balance initiative.
Some organizations offer to sponsor childcare. Others might offer after-school programs. Others might just have occasional outings where families are welcome to join!
Paid or even unpaid family leave is also an option for employees who might need to take time off to care for a family member.
7. Apply change management techniques.
When you're going through a major change at your company, your employees may experience significant upheaval.
Some might end up working overtime, while others may have to change their roles, and everyone is likely to get overwhelmed.
In this case, apply best practices for change management, including training your leaders on how to best support their teams during times of change.
For a more detailed guide, check out our eBook on the Change Management Process:
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8. Consider offering creative incentives.
While cash bonuses are always welcome, research has indicated that employees may get more value from other incentives.
Look for ways to offer other tangible bonuses to your team, such as vacation vouchers or extra time off. If you can't offer entire vacation days, offer afternoons or mornings off so people can have long weekends.
One recent study showed that offering time-saving services significantly improved employees’ happiness.
9. Give employees time to foster their creativity.
The most common example of “creative time” at work is Google’s 20% policy, where they allow engineers to spend 20% of their time working on their own ideas.
You don’t have to be that flexible but look for ways to create more time for your employees to be creative.
10. Provide educational support.
Most people perform at their best when they're focused on growing and learning.
You might want to consider offering tuition assistance for people pursuing ongoing education. Or, reimbursing employees for attending development sessions.
Look for creative ways to help support your employees’ personal development and show that you care about their goals.
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11. Create a “fun committee.”
The words fun and committee might not seem to go together, but this is another effective work-life balance initiative you'll want to consider!
Rather than having one employee responsible for planning activities, let employees volunteer to plan holiday parties, team excursions, and other events as a team. Especially while the weather is warm (at least here in NYC) and outdoor seating is available, why not check out a trivia night or do a picnic in the park?
Maybe offer an anonymous poll to see what your employees would be interested in doing as an outside of work activity.
12. Invest in team-building exercises.
Team-building exercises might seem trite, but they do work. The key is to pick the right exercise and make sure your team is open to participating.
Look for a mix of creative and tried-and-true team-building exercises and test one during your next team meeting.
Teamwork strengthens relationships and boosts creativity.
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Do any of these initiatives resonate with you? What effective work-life initiatives have you seen done before? Tell us in the comments!