Promote Your Work Life Balance Arrangements!

So you’ve identified the importance and benefits of supporting your staff to achieve work life balance, so how about promoting them?!?!

Unfortunately I see so many organisations miss great opportunities to capitalise on their work life balance commitment to attract and retain talent. Watch our latest video for suggestions on promoting your work life balance offer to ensure that you communicate pre, during and post employment.


Employers: Looking for an Employee Assistance Program (EAP)? Some Things to Consider…

Employers interested in implementing or looking to review their Employee Assistance Program (EAP), should consider a number of factors to select the best provider for their organisation. An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is an independent and confidential counselling service for individuals to help them through any issues that they face in their life that they need some external support. This support can be invaluable and by partnering with the right external EAP provider, this will help your staff both professional and personally. Here are some factors employers should consider:

~ Is it accessible to your entire workforce?

All work locations?
Many organisations have their staff based at different locations within the same town, state and across the country. When selecting an EAP provider you should check with them how their service can cater for those employees located inside and outside of metropolitan areas. For example, for an employee working in a rural location, will they have access to the same or any services? Can they still have face-to-face counselling sessions or over the phone counselling?


Employer Concerns with Working from Home

Despite many employers embracing the concept of working from home, there are many others who still struggle to justify that the home environment can be a productive place to perform work. Not every role can be done from home, nor does this work well for all staff, but those that can and the employers are reluctant to make this happen, here are some common concerns as to why:

~ That work will not get done at all or as fast
~ That Managers won’t be able to keep a close eye on them
~ That they won’t be easily contactable by their colleagues
~ That once they are set up at home, these arrangements can’t change
~ That they will waste time due to the inability to access company software, hardware and files


How Successful is your Work Life Balance Program?

Employers who implement a work life balance program may be unclear whether they are successful or not. Success can be measured in a variety of ways and it is important to determine your success measures early on, preferably pre-implementation, so that you are aware of what you are trying to achieve and monitor how you are going throughout the program.

Some example goals that can be set to determine the success of your work life balance program may include the number of sessions run, participation rates, satisfaction scores and more in depth return on investment. There are of course advantages and disadvantages of all approaches. Advantages predominantly with the easier measures include less time/resources to collate information and ease of availability of information. For the more complicated measures, e.g. return on investment, this will provide employers with a comprehensive understanding of how the initiative is actually benefiting the organisation and whether it is money well spent. The main disadvantages are quality of information for the easier tracking and also time/resources for more sophisticated measures.

Let’s go through an example and how collecting more evidence can help employers to assess whether the program is successful or not.


Health, Wellbeing & Other Work Life Balance Employer Ideas

Employers can offer a range of extra products or services to assist their staff to achieve work life balance. Organisations may offer flexible working arrangements and additional leave entitlements, however health, wellbeing and other work life balance extras can provide the extra support needed to play an even bigger role in fostering happy and healthy staff.

See below for some examples of balancing extras that can be provided to your workforce:

Option Details Example
Employee Assistance Program An anonymous confidential counselling services provided by an external provider that includes a certain number of sessions per employee (and sometimes their immediate family) per year. Sally’s mother died and has been having difficulty coping with her lose. She has been given access to five free counselling sessions by the organisation’s EAP to help her through this difficult time.
Wellness Program A tailored program aimed to assist employees to improve their health. A wellness program may include health assessments, flu vaccinations, health seminars, massages, skin checks, weight loss initiatives etc. Services may not all necessarily be covered by the organisation, however subsidies may be available to employees who access these services. Jeff works outdoors as part of his job and his organisation provides all the necessary property, plant and equipment for him to perform his work. His employer’s wellness program includes a free health assessment every year and skin checks every quarter to ensure that he has no traces of skin cancer.

4 Work Life Balance Tips for People Managers

Managers have a range of responsibilities and in most cases it includes people management. Managers play one of the most critical roles in an employee’s experience at work. To help foster productive employees who will assist you to achieve goals whilst also supporting work life balance, we offer the following tips.

1. Know your organisation’s work life balance arrangements

Although your human resources area may handle the administration of your work life balance arrangement, as you have staff reporting to you, you may be asked questions around options, eligibility and application. As a Manager it is worthwhile to equip yourself with knowledge of these arrangements so that you present a consistent message within the organisation and respond to general enquiries.

2. Know your employee’s employment arrangements

Your staff may be engaged by the organisation in a variety of different working arrangements. This could include such variances as working hours, working times, work locations etc. If not known already, Manager’s should confirm this information of existing staff. As a new Manager or as you acquire new team members it is beneficial to gain an understanding of their employment arrangements. For example, you may have part timers who only work a 30 hour week or a full time who has purchased two weeks additional leave. By gaining an appreciation for your team’s overall working hours and arrangements will help you to plan to achieve your team’s goals.

Improve Your Work Life Balance Culture

Improve Your Work Life Balance Culture – Tips from Australia’s Leading Work Life Balance Employers

Want to improve your organisation’s work life balance success? This presentation brings together key themes evident in creating a successful work life balance culture, as demonstrated by Australia’s leading work life balance employers. We share this information as we believe by creating work life balance together, that both organisations and employees can achieve significant benefits.


No or Low Cost Work Life Balance Initiatives

Employers can support their staff to achieve work life balance in a variety of ways, but also at no or very low cost. The ability to eliminate the financial burden creates the opportunity for more organisations, particularly small or not-for-profit employers to implement work life balance support for their workforce.

Some examples of no or low cost strategies you could implement are outlined in the table:

Option Cost Details Example
Flexible Working Hours $0 Flexibility when working hours are completed means that there are no additional costs incurred as employees perform the same number of hours. An employee starts early and finishes early to avoid the peak hour traffic (saving an hour every day in time spent in traffic).
Work from Home $0 (some initial IT costs may be required) The option for staff to work from home, may require some IT setup initially, however in the long-term should work from home become more accessible this may lead to savings of costly office space (plus environmental benefits due to less traffic on our roads). An employee works from home every Friday.
Leave Without Pay $0 The ability to offer leave without pay does not have any direct cost to the employer. This may be a single day to a year long period of absence. Whatever the length, this no-cost option demonstrates the commitment to accommodate an employee’s needs, whilst also retaining great talent (in the instance of longer term absences). An employee may want to go on a 6 month overseas trip and when the return, they will be able to come back to their role or a similar type position.
Importance of Work Life Balance for Employers

The Importance of Work Life Balance for Employers

What is Work Life Balance

An agreed work life balance definition has been difficult to obtain since the concept emerged in the late 1970’s. A common theme around defining work life balance is the ability for an individual to successfully manage work and everything else that makes up an individual’s life. The balancing of needs, responsibilities, expectations and desires of ourselves, partners, families, friends, employers and community groups we believe are key contributors to achieving balance.

Why is Work Life Balance Important?

Over 11 million Australians work, therefore it is important to understand that as much as some employers think or hope that they do, employees do not leave their lives at the door. Work is one part of an individual’s life and in some cases a major part, considering the amount of awake hours we spend either travelling to, working and then travelling home from work.

According to The Australian Work and Life Index 2010 60 percent of women feel consistently time pressured and nearly 50 percent of men feel the same way. Another notable mention is the increase in the past three years that a quarter of women working full-time and one fifth of similar men were dissatisfied with their work-life. Work-life conflict does result in negative consequences for individuals, such as health problems to relationship breakdown, which no doubt then impacts an employee’s ability to work.


Manager-Employee Relationship Key to Work Life Balance Success

A constant theme from balanced employers is the critical relationship between Manager and employee to achieve work life balance. Leaders play an important role in the day-to-day direction of tasks, communication of company and team vision, training, guidance, performance management and so much more. They also have a critical part to play in the success of work life balance practices. Managers are at the forefront of implementing work life balance policies and/or have a heavily weighted or complete say whether work life balance requests are granted or not.

It is important to acknowledge that a Manager’s very own opinion of work life balance can dramatically impact the success of work life balance for his/her team. Should a leader not appreciate or respect the need for a balanced life, they may be less inclined to support and accept ad hoc or regular flexible requests. Furthermore, should a Manager not “walk the talk” and if they are one of those individuals that you wonder if they actually went home last night – they may just be creating an unspoken excessive work ethic that may start their team members to think:

  • To get ahead or be promoted, you have to work long hours
  • Work life balance is not really valued in my organisation
  • My boss is never going to approve my flexible request if they’re doing the hours they’re doing
  • Should I be putting in more hours to help my boss out?
  • I’m never going to get out of here!
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