When it comes to enhancing employee success, supporting work/life balance is a great place to start. Although this delicate dance is important for all generations, millennials emphasize the need more than most, and today's workforce is filled with such Gen. Y-ers seeking better balance.
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Here, we'll dig into some key strategies to help you encourage the perfect work/life balance for your employees:
1. Support Self-Care
We all need to be reminded from time to time of how important it is to take care of ourselves physically and mentally. You can start promoting work/life balance by encouraging your employees to ask for help when they need it and seek resources that fit their needs.
No matter an employee's role, stress is a given at some point. It's important for employees to find ways to de-stress both at work and at home. Meditation can be one way to cope. The University of Southern California's online Master of Social Work program has compiled a list of mindfulness resources that may be helpful here.
2. Create a Guilt-Free Environment
It's important that you empower employees to be mindful of their limits, which means you need to show understanding and support when someone says enough is enough. As executive coach Rebecca Zucker notes in an article for Harvard Business Review, guilt-free self-care is more than a luxury – it's an essential tool to optimize creativity and productivity.
According to Zucker, "more than 40 percent of our creative ideas come when we are taking breaks or allowing our minds to wander. Tell your team to rest when they need to, and remind them that they can't be at their best if they're not taking time to decompress."
3. Promote Optimism
Research shows that optimistic people can actually help teams be more productive and support work/life balance. Business consultant Joe Robinson claims that, on high-performing teams, positive statements outnumber negative ones by six to one. On low-performing teams, the ratio of positive to negative statements is under one to one.
Citing mindfulness as one key to recognizing the power of negative emotions, Robinson says it's essential to focus on the positive instead. Or, as he quotes Mark Twain, "Drag your thoughts away from your troubles ... by the ears, by the heels, or any way you can manage it."
4. Lead by Example
Another important thing Zucker emphasizes is the fact that, as a manager, you need to lead by example. When you stick to exiting the office at a reasonable hour and the world doesn't fall apart, your employees will see that they can do it, too. Setting your own solid boundaries for work/life balance benefits both those and all who are watching you.
Get Started Today
Empowering your employees to achieve great work/life balance is good for them and for your company's well-being. You can start today by asking employees what they need, providing more education about work/life balance, and reminding them that quality – not quantity – is the key to success.
Colleen O'Day is a digital PR manager and supports community outreach for 2U Inc.'s social work, mental health, and speech pathology programs.