In an increasingly competitive global market, it’s not uncommon for employees’ work-life balance to suffer – often leading to burnout. In this blog, we explore the positive impact that Flexibility and Work-Life Balance Benefits have on employee engagement, along with programs and initiatives to implement at your organization.
Written by Brooke White, Sr. Employer Brand Specialist
The Impact Of Flexibility & Work-Life Balance On Employee Engagement
“We think, mistakenly, that success is the result of the amount of time we put in at work, instead of the quality of time we put in.” Arianna Huffington
THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN WORK-LIFE BALANCE AND EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
In an increasingly competitive global market, it’s not uncommon for employees to work extended hours, spend time in the office on weekends, and remain ‘plugged-in’ when they get home. A combination of which, often leads to physical, mental and emotional exhaustion – a.k.a. burnout. This burnout then leads to poor employee engagement, resulting in high turnover, absenteeism, lowered productivity, poor communication, and an overall negative office culture.
To combat this, organizations can offer Flexibility and Work-Life Balance Benefits to help employees remain productive, inspired and engaged. These benefits typically include flexible hours, paid time off, remote work, and childcare options.
WHAT THE STATISTICS INDICATE
In the Quantum Workplace: Workplace Well-Being Study, the employees surveyed reported that:
- When asked to choose work-life balance benefits they’d prefer, over 70% chose paid time off, flexibility, and the ability to work remote over childcare.
- Under 50% of employers offer flexible hours, roughly 30% provide the ability to work remote, and 10% offer childcare options.
- On average 74% of millennials want the option to work remote, which was almost 10% higher than baby boomers.
- Over 80% of executives said they most prefer flexible hours, compared to 71% of hourly employees, and 75% of managers, professional/technical, and salaried employees.
- Roughly 20% reported wanting childcare as a work-life balance benefit, where only about 5% felt satisfied with their employers current offering.
But how does this relate to employee engagement? Well:
- Employees are over 20% more engaged when they have the right amount of balance between their work and personal life.
- Employees who don’t feel like there’s a balance are 2.5 times more likely to be hostile and 2.7 times more likely to be disengaged.
STEPS EMPLOYERS CAN TAKE TO INCREASE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT
Time Off to Recharge Outside of Vacation & Sick Time
Unlike traditional paid time off that includes vacation and sick time, this benefit offers employees time off at a manager’s discretion to recharge when experiencing stress or burnout. Some organizations are offering these benefits as mental health or stress days, where some employers feel this time off should come from vacation and sick days. Though this may be a common opinion among employers, the statistics show that breaking these days out into their own allotment is the way to go.
Based on survey findings, 76.5% of employees reported wanting this benefit as an option, where only 45.3% of employers currently provide it. In the organizations that provide time off to recharge, employees are 13.8% more engaged.
To introduce a benefit like this successfully, employers need to set clear guidelines and policies governing limitations, eligibility, and a fair approval process.
While offering flexible hours gives employees the freedom and autonomy to manage their work and timelines, it’s not always an option. Employees who work in customer-facing roles, or have job responsibilities rely heavily on team collaboration may be tied to specific or set schedules. When possible, flexible hours allow employees to accommodate personal commitments, while getting work done.
The study reported that 74.3% of employees want their employers to offer flexible hours, where only 45.8% actually do. In the organizations where flexible hours are provided, employees are 18.0% more engaged.
Remote Work Options (Working from Home)
With 74% of millennials seeking work from home options from their employer, it’s becoming glaringly obvious that employers need to provide it to effectively compete for talent. The ability to work outside the office, either when necessary or on a full-time basis, lowers costs and increases employee productivity and autonomy for organizations (along with many other benefits).
Based on survey findings, 70.9% of employees would like remote work options, where only 32.1% of employers provide it. In the organizations that do offer remote work, employees are 14.0% more engaged.
Similar to offering flexible hours, this benefit requires that organizations trust their employees to remain productive without supervision. To help stay connected throughout the day, managers should practice regular check-ins with employees via phone, video and office chat technology.
TO ACTUALLY IMPROVE EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT, YOU MUST COMMUNICATE THESE BENEFITS EFFECTIVELY
In order to reap the rewards of introducing Work-Life Balance Benefits, organizations need to effectively communicate them to employees.
Ensure that your work-life balance offerings are communicated throughout all relevant employee touchpoints and are promoted and celebrated by people managers. Employees must know what benefits you offer, understand the policies that govern them, and actually feel comfortable using these options without any negative judgement from team members or managers.
When communicated effectively, employers can enjoy the inevitable perks associated with a 20% increase in employee engagement.
*This blog is based off of insights from the Quantum Workplace: Workplace Well-Being Study.