As a leader, it can be difficult to think of how to promote work/life balance in the workplace. Your primary task is to ensure that your team accomplishes its goals, but you can’t do that if they are burned out.
By helping to promote work/life balance in the workplace, you can keep your team energized and creative.
7 Ideas for How to Promote Work/Life Balance in the Workplace
1. Set a good example yourself.
If you’re trying to think of how to promote work/life balance in the workplace, the first place you need to look is yourself. Your team will follow your example. If you consistently stay late and work weekends, your team will feel that they need to do the same.
Model a good work/life balance for your team and they will follow suit. This includes taking vacations! If you never use your vacation time, your team might not feel that they should either.
2. Support your team through cross-training and documentation.
It doesn’t matter how much you want to promote work/life balance; if each member of your team is irreplaceable, they can’t disconnect.
Make sure all key processes are documented, and cross-train your team where possible. This will ensure that people can go on vacation and take days off without coming back to a stressful backlog.
3. Set reasonable expectations and limits with clients.
Over the last decade, people’s expectations of availability have become somewhat ridiculous. Rather than sending someone a message and waiting for a response within a business day, people have been led to expect immediate responses.
Unless you are providing emergency support, most messages don’t require people to drop everything and respond. Develop policies to effectively support your clients without sacrificing people’s personal time. This can include setting up shifts so there’s always someone on call or just sharing policies with clients from the start.
4. Track how people are using their vacation time.
I’m not talking about stalking here, but you do need to keep an eye on which employees are consistently using their vacation time – and which employees never take a day off.
Check in with anyone who isn’t consistently using their vacation time and make sure they have the support they need. There may be other reasons they aren’t using vacation days, but make sure it’s not that they feel they can’t leave.
5. Get to know your team’s personal goals.
One key component for how to promote work/life balance in the workplace is connecting with people personally in the workplace. A great way to do that is to get to understand their personal goals.
There are a number of ways you can do this. The easiest thing to do is to ask! You can do that in performance reviews or one-on-one meetings. Alternately, you can have a team-building activity and get the whole team involved.
I’ve seen a number of clients use things like vision boards to get everyone sharing. One story that I still remember is the sales rep who shared his family’s goal of adopting a baby, and how he knew he needed to hit his sales targets to be able to afford the process. The whole team got behind him and wanted to know how they could help!
6. Create a healthy work environment.
Have you ever noticed that the workplace pulls you away from the healthy habits you’re trying to establish elsewhere in your life? This is a huge problem for work/life balance.
Work to create a healthy work environment for your team. You can do this by setting up quiet rooms for people to focus, having plants and other relaxing decorations, and reducing the number and length of meetings.
In terms of physical health, consider having standing or walking meetings to avoid too much sitting. And where possible, offer healthy snacks and meals rather than just junk food.
7. Bring family into the workplace where appropriate.
Promoting work/life balance sometimes means bringing people’s lives into work. One way to do that is to create opportunities for people to bring their families to work, or to work-related events.
Consider scheduling a summer picnic or holiday party that is open to people’s partners or families. If possible, celebrate life events like engagements and baby showers with your team, and let people bring their families to celebrate with them.
As a leader, you may even want to schedule smaller dinners with your team members and their families to get to know them outside big team events.
I hope these seven ideas for how to promote work/life balance in the workplace are helpful to you!
If you have more ideas for how to promote work/life balance in the workplace, I’d love to read about them in the comments.
And for more insight into work/life balance, check out our infographic.