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3 Ways HR Can Improve Employee Work-Life Balance
3 Ways HR Can Improve Employee Work-Life Balance
"There’s no such thing as work-life balance. There’s work, and there’s life and there’s no balance." That was the opening salvo for the release of Sheryl Sandberg’s New York Times bestseller Lean In. In it, Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, recalls pumping breast milk during conference calls and keeping the fact she left the office at 5:30 pm for family time a secret by constantly answering emails when she was home.

Human resource management and executives often pay lip service to work-life balance, but they often do not set a good example in their own work lives and rarely drive initiatives to improve it in their own companies. Cheryl Palmer, the owner of coaching firm Call to Career says, "If top management regularly logs 60-80 hour workweeks, the expectation is that lower-level employees will do the same."

So if executives aren’t in control of maintaining work-life balance among their employees, who is? It’s human resource management, which creates workplace policies and has the tools for ensuring their co-workers have proper boundaries between their personal and professional lives.

Here are 3 ways human resource management can take the reigns and enable their co-workers to live more balanced lives:

1.Survey employees to discover their needs

It’s hard to diagnose the culture issues in your company if you don’t know the symptoms of the disease. Consider surveying employees anonymously to get their honest feedback. You can also present a series of new initiatives focused on engaging employees and testing what would make the most impact in your workforce.

2. Institute a flex-time policy

According to research from Workplace Trends, an HR membership service, and CareerArc, a global recruitment firm, 87 percent of HR leaders say that flex-time policies have improved employee experience and satisfaction so much that 7 out of 10 hiring managers use it as a recruiting tool.

If you think your executive team will balk at the idea of a flex-time policy, speak to how it can be used to hire the best talent to your company and the costs involved with having to fire and replace poor employees. As an alternative, you can also institute a use it or lose it policy for vacation time, so your employees take time off when it is necessary.

3. Integrate work-life balance year round

Discussions on this topic aren’t just for company handbooks and employee orientation. Schedule quarterly seminars on work-life balance for engaging employees and helping them understand the importance of such balance. Use these times as teaching moments to promote better work and personal habits, and also discuss ways to manage workloads. Frequent communication on employee experience shows your employees that you truly want them to thrive in both their personal and professional lives.

If Winston Churchill was able to take an afternoon nap everyday, we can certainly fix our work-life issues, and HR has the tools to lead the way. As Robin D. Richards, CEO of CareerArc advises:

"There needs to be open and welcome communication between HR and managers, and managers with their employees so that there aren't any assumptions being made about time being spent working outside of office hours"


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