Why ‘time out’ is better for your people – and for business

Why ‘time out’ is better for your people – and for business

Work plays an important part in our lives. It gives us identity, purpose and livelihood.

But it’s not the be-all-end-all.

Gone are the days when employees are expected to be married to their job. Of living to work instead of working to live. More and more organisations now realise the importance of equilibrium – and they’re reaping the rewards.

At BellchambersBarrett, we don’t just encourage our team to achieve a healthy work-life-balance. We insist on it.

Here’s why.

Keeping burnout at bay

It’s normal for employers to expect a certain commitment from their staff. In fact, healthy goals and expectations give your team members a direction to work towards. And when achieved, their sense of accomplishment can propel them forward.

But the key word here is ‘healthy’.

Employers need to be mindful to keep their expectations reasonable. And to ensure that their team is not being overworked and overstressed.

It might be tempting to celebrate that staff member who is always the last to leave the office. Or to reward the ones who consistently work through the weekends.

Yes, you should recognise dedicated, hardworking employees. But be sure to also encourage healthy boundaries between work and play.

Why? Because when employees work too hard without staying in touch with their life outside the office, they can start to experience extreme stress. Which could lead to burnout. And that’s a whole different state of mind.

Stress can usually be managed with an extended vacation or reduced working hours. But with burnout, people become disillusioned about their work – and are not motivated to keep going.

They show less interest, withdraw from the team, and ultimately, leave.

A healthy team pays big dividends

An increase in sick leave or absenteeism. Lower team morale. Reduced productivity. More red than black in the books.

That’s just a few ways burnt-out employees can negatively affect your business.

On the other hand, having healthy, happy staff – with a positive attitude towards work – can pay off in dividends for your overall commercial success.

Teams that are empowered to take control of their work and personal lives feel more motivated, energised and less stressed. And they have better relationships with colleagues and managers.

In other words, by encouraging work-life balance, your organisation will enjoy:

  • A more cohesive team culture
  • Boosted performance and productivity
  • More loyal and engaged employees
  • An improved employee retention rate
  • Lower absenteeism
  • A more enticing proposition for prospective employees

The balancing act starts at the top

Now that you know the benefits of cultivating a happy and healthy team, it’s time to put it into practice. And as managers or business owners, there’s a lot you can do to encourage work-life balance from the top down.

Here are a few ideas to get you started:

  1. Ask what works best. A good working environment isn’t always one-size-fits-all. Everyone has a different style of working and there’s no right or wrong – only what’s most effective. Check in with your team regularly to see how you can support them to work more efficiently.
  2. Lead by example. That means modelling a healthy work-life balance yourself! And ensure staff in senior roles and other positions of authority feel supported to maintain their boundaries between work and self too.
  3. Communicate clearly. Encourage your staff to have hobbies or pursue interests outside work. Remind them that you respect their personal priorities too, and that you’re ready to support them.
  4. Reinforce it. Establish flexible work arrangements. Organise social sessions for the team – where no work discussions are allowed. And discourage your team from working overtime where possible.
  5. Keep your eyes and ears open. Create a work culture that encourages your team to share how they’re feeling – whether it’s about their workload or issues at home. This is a great way to open dialogue and help everyone keep their priorities in check.

The bottom line

Someone putting work above all else may sound like a star employee on paper. But in reality, it’s not sustainable.

Neither is it beneficial to your organisation in the long run.

Keeping your team effective, productive, and happy, on the other hand, will allow your workplace to grow better and stronger.

And that’s why at BellchambersBarrett, we prioritise not just work-life balance, but work-life brilliance.