11 inspiring ideas to improve your employees' work/life balance
The latest JLL barometer on employees' new work preferences is very clear: employees' priority is to have a better work/life balance. A trend confirmed by the survey carried out by the Institut Jean Jaurès in July 2022, which reveals that employees' relationship with work has changed. In 1990, 60% of employees considered their job to be "very important", whereas today only 24% do so.
Talented employees are no longer prepared to sacrifice their personal lives for their careers. To attract and retain them, companies have every interest in taking steps to improve their work/life balance.
Here's an overview of the individual and collective actions that can be taken.
Work-life balance: measures for the working time management system
1/ Ban meetings before 9am and after 6pm
How do you drop the children off at school when a meeting is scheduled for 8am? And who's going to pick them up when the nursery closes at 6pm? For young parents, organization can quickly become a headache and a source of stress.
A quick and easy solution is to ban team meetings before 9am and after 6pm. And if you want to put this into practice in your company, make it a rule in your internal regulations! This is a firm way of curbing rebellious managers who might be tempted to ignore this measure.
2/ Respecting and enforcing working hours
"It's 5pm and you're already leaving, you've taken the afternoon off"? This kind of remark is commonplace in French companies, where the culture of presenteeism is still (all too) common. And it's about time things change! Because no, leaving at 5pm is not abnormal when the employee respects his or her working hours. Staying in the office to put on a brave face is not only absurd, it's counter-productive.
To put an end to this archaic custom, start by setting an example. Of course, it's also the role of the team manager to call to order employees who work longer hours than expected.
3/ Introduce teleworking and flexible organization
On average, it takes employees 35 minutes to get to work (source: observatoire des territoires). In some cities, such as Paris, this figure doubles or even triples, and according to the company Swile, 35% of resignations are linked to a bad commuting experience. By introducing teleworking days, your employees will have more time to pursue their personal interests.
In fact, according to the "People at Work" study published at the end of July 2022, 57% of French people say they are prepared to accept a pay cut in exchange for a better work/life balance, and 27% in exchange for flexibility in their working hours.
Another option is individualized working hours. For employees whose jobs can be carried out in whole or in part over different time slots, this is a major advantage! They can manage their working hours according to their own personal needs and desires.
4/ Testing the 4-day week
According to the same 2022 "People at work" study, 71% of European employees aspire to switch to a 4-day week. Admittedly, it's a measure that takes time to organize and deploy, but according to the organizations that have tested it, it's well worth the effort! And we know what we're talking about, since we've already implemented it at Gentis!
To find inspiration, remove your obstacles and understand how companies have switched to the 4-day week, we recommend you take a look at LDLC, MV Group, and even Gentis.
Work/life balance: HR and managerial measures
5/ Raising awareness of the right to disconnect
Many managers and employees consult, send and reply to e-mails outside working hours. But this habit invades the private sphere.
A simple measure to put in place: insert a note at the end of each e-mail reminding employees not to check their inboxes after a certain time. Then, make your managers aware of this practice to encourage employees to do the same.
6/ Training employees to prioritize their tasks
Some employees find it difficult to organize and divide their work into urgent tasks, important tasks and tasks that can wait. For them, they're all urgent, when in truth they're not, and could be dealt with on another day.
The good news is that prioritizing your tasks to regain control of your working time can be learned! Identify the employees concerned and offer them training.
7/ Delegate and share the workload
Your manager doesn't know how to delegate? Are some team members overloaded with work, while others have time for 6 coffee breaks a day? These situations affect your work/life balance. In the first case, training or individual coaching to teach your manager to delegate is a good idea.
In the second case, it's important for the team manager to analyze the workload distribution in order to balance tasks. Specifically, which employees have the heaviest workload? Is the workload fair in terms of quantity and skills?
8/ Learn to say no
One of your colleagues doesn't know how to say no? While the others are leaving the office, he's still busy at work because he said yes to yet another project? In that case, coaching on how to say no is very welcome!
9/ Block access to the company server
A radical solution that has the merit of dissuading those who flout the rules on working hours is to block access to the company server after a certain hour. By choosing this option, you send out a strong message: we are responsible for your mental health!
Work/life balance: financial measures
10/ Covering extra-curricular activities
What if, to encourage your employees to achieve a better life balance, you helped finance a gym membership? Whether sporting or cultural, there's no shortage of initiatives.
11/ Offer a company daycare center
Childcare is on the minds of young parents. Places in municipal nurseries are scarce, and childminders don't always have hours to suit employees' schedules. To alleviate this problem, you can help finance a company nursery.
This gives young parents peace of mind, without the hassle of looking for childcare. That's one less mental burden.
With these 11 ideas, you're now ready to improve your employees' work/life balance!
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