The issue of finding and attaining a good balance between work commitments and a personal life has become even more of a key factor than money or job prospects in recent years when considering a new job or Career Change.
There are a number of different categories of people who are keener on seeking a more balanced way of working. They include:
- New parents
- Carers of elderly relatives
- The financially stable who want more leisure time
The list above is not exhaustive however – workers from all backgrounds are increasingly concerned with maintaining a healthy work/life balance.
It’s true that today’s employees are demanding more from their employers than ever before. So, should employers be concerned about this issue? Well, an employer’s willingness to work with their employees to develop solutions for work/life challenges reflects the value and importance of an individual to an organisation and can often mean the difference between retaining and losing valuable members of staff.
Good communication between the employer and employee is the key here. An employer must have the company’s business intentions at heart whilst trying to balance that with the needs of the employee. That way, both priorities can be worked towards and experimented with to see how best to benefit both the business and the employee.
Companies are increasingly trying out new ways for their staff to work. Here are just a few of them, although it must be said that not all these practices are suitable for all companies.
Flexible Working– allowing workers the flexibility to begin and end their day when they choose (whilst still working for the same length of time) often makes a critical difference to people with personal obligations, such as a parent picking up/dropping off their child at school. Reduced Working and Job Sharing– sometimes employees need to scale back their working hours due to personal reasons. In addition to simply reducing hours, job sharing is being increasingly seen as a popular option as it gives the job sharers enough free time to meet their commitments, whilst simultaneously ensuring that the number of hours of work required by the employer is met. Telecommuting– Improved telecommunications and information technology over the last decade has resulted in a major shift from purely office based working with employers letting a number of employees work from home on tasks that are predominantly phone or computer based. Many employers are letting their staff work on a long-term basis in this manner, others just a few days per week or when the situation allows. Others allow staff to telecommute for a short period of time in extreme circumstances, such as recuperating from an illness that prevents them from coming into the office.
It’s not just the way we work which companies should be looking to address. Some of them provide child care (crèche) facilities on site, or have a gym both of which can be time consuming commuting for busy parents and which help them free up time and, therefore, increase the balance between work and life.
Employers know the costs, both economical and knowledge-based, of losing valuable, skilled workers and by providing Flexible Working conditions, where possible, it sends a simple message to employees that you value their contribution to your company and respect their personal lives. In return, by demonstrating that commitment, an employee’s working contribution is likely to be more loyal and of a higher standard which can only be beneficial to the company.