We have all heard the business buzzword “work/life balance” and wondered where that magical place exists. Is it at the end of rainbow? Do you teleport there? With the increasingly competitive job market, there lies an exceeding pressure to give 110% all the time, resulting in a big imbalance of these two poles. Far too often we are – as a culture – guilty of neglecting our health in pursuit of the next deadline, or that big report. We have begun to get caught in the hamster wheel of the overachieving adage, who has time for life when there is so much work to be done?
Work/life balance is like regularly scheduled car maintenance. Sure we can skip a couple routine checks when we are pressed for time and/or money…until that fateful morning when your car suddenly sputters to a stop on your way to work and some neon doodle starts blinking like crazy on your dashboard. Only then, when it is too late and costly to undo the damage of neglecting our cars’ health maintenance, do we realize the importance of proactive measures for our valiant steeds.
In a day and age where time is money, how can we encourage employees to slow down their day-to-day responsibilities to make sure they are taking care of themselves? Think outside the box. It is time to get creative with our policies and procedures and go above and beyond what once passed as acceptable.
The only way to attract new talent – and keep those we already have happy – is to spice things up. The Huffington Post put it best in a recent article on Why Ignoring Employee Wellness is a Mistake: “Success in this new world will depend on an employer’s ability to maintain older, experienced workers, keep healthcare costs down, and satisfy the ideals of the incoming generations.”
It is time to view employee wellness as a necessity, not a luxury. Behind us are the days where gym memberships, healthy office snacks and team retreats are deemed irrelevant. Now, more than ever, we are seeing employers offering programs and initiatives that address employees’ total well being (Stephen Miller, SHRM, 2016). Investing in efforts to keep your staff happy and healthy shows in the numbers, increasing employee performance, productivity and profits. In a recent study conducted by University of Warwick economists, productivity spiked by 12% in happy employees, while dropping 10% in those who claimed to be unhappy (Ravesencio, Fast Company, 2015). Research also shows that when team members are happy at work, they are better collaborators, more willing and energized to work toward common goals, and develop more creative ideas. (Zwilling, Forbes, 2014)
So treat your staff to a pass for a free spin class. Order smoothies for your team to kick off a brainstorming session. If you have noticed someone logging a ton of extra hours, offer them a mid-week comp day to recharge their batteries so they don’t burn out when you need them most. Or on the most basic level, take a little time each week to give an employee or colleague some praise for something they did a great job on. All of these are examples of newer practices that make up great company culture, and will undoubtedly attract the right people to your team to help take your business to new heights.