5 work-life balance strategies to create an employee first culture

Sep 8, 2023
workplace tables in lounge

Here are five work-life balance strategies that smart employers are using to provide employees with work-life balance and to create an ‘employee first’ culture.

If there’s one message from employees that came out loud and clear since the pandemic, it’s the demand for work-life balance! Many employees who were “forced” to work in remote or hybrid conditions during the pandemic found that they liked the freedom, flexibility, and opportunity for work-life balance that the experience gave them. But now that many have come back to the workplace to some degree, they’re continuing to demand that balance.

In fact, 72% of workers consider work-life balance an important factor when evaluating the quality of a job, and 57% of job-seekers report that poor work-life balance is a deal-breaker that will cause them not to accept an offer.

Smart employers are finding ways to provide the work-life balance that today’s employees crave — even if they’re now back to the physical workplace full time.

Here are five work-life balance strategies that will help you deliver work-life balance for your employees and create an ‘employee first’ culture.

Create Efficiencies

You can help employees work smarter, not harder by creating efficiencies so they can get their work done faster and more effectively. For example:

Explore opportunities for employees to work with each other through cross-functional teams, for instance. Two (or more) heads truly are better than one. Working together can not only expedite work processes and create better outcomes but fosters a culture of collaboration and helps build community as well.

  • Leverage data to make better business decisions. Data can help identify areas of opportunity — or areas where process improvements need to be made. Capture that data, and then make use of it!
  • Think of ways to leverage technology (think: automation) to minimize administrative workloads and free employees up to focus on more rewarding aspects of their work.
  • Seek employee feedback — they often have their own great idea for how things can be done better. After all they’re on the front lines. Ask them for suggestions to improve operational processes and implement their great ideas.

Looking for ways to create efficiencies should be ongoing. Continuous process improvements can help to keep employees engaged while improving business impact.

Reduce Stress

Stress can be a constant, especially in companies or positions that are fast-paced. But all of us experience stress to some degree in our jobs. Fortunately, there are ways leaders can help reduce stress levels in their workforce, and its negative impacts.

  • Look for ways to help employees manage their workloads and offer flexibility through remote, hybrid and on-site variability. Not all need to be done on-site all the time. In many cases it doesn’t really matter where employees get their work done, but how well they get it done. Focus on outcomes.
  • Stay attuned to the factors that contribute to employee stress. For instance, financial concerns. According to PwC's2023 Employee Financial Wellness Survey, 60% of full-time employees are stressed about their finances, and this number is even higher than during the height of the pandemic. Employers can help to minimize this stress by offering employees workshops on personal finance, budgeting, or retirement planning. Encourage employees to invest in their 401k plans.
  • Offer time-saving benefits for employees to help them with some of their personal responsibilities. For instance, errand running, holiday gift wrapping, etc. Give employees time back in their day so that, when the day is done, they can focus on what matters most — not running errands after work!

Be creative in thinking of ways to minimize employee stress whether it’s related to their work or personal lives. These efforts will pay dividends in terms of employee engagement, loyalty, and longevity.

Inspire Collaboration

When employees work well together, they benefit — and so does your entire organization. What can you do to inspire collaboration?

  • Champion team building activities and create opportunities for employees to get to know each other outside of work. When employees feel connected to their colleagues, they are more likely to feel supported and engaged at work.
  • Encourage employees to share their ideas and concerns openly and freely, both with their managers and their peers. This can help create a more open and inclusive work environment, where employees feel heard and valued.
  • Work on providing meaningful opportunities for employees to work together on projects or assignments. Collaborative projects can help foster a sense of teamwork and create a better sense of fulfillment and achievement. (This is a double bonus since it also can create efficiencies!)

Creative collaboration creates benefits for all!

Build Community

Building community among workers — regardless of where they’re located — can help support a strong company culture. There are a number of things that employers can do to help build community.

For instance, organizations can foster connections among employees through both work-related and casual connections. Virtual game nights can be as inspiring and connection-building as project teams.

Visibly prioritize work-life balance through group activities and work-life balance solutions that are relevant to your workplace. For instance, companies with locations in major cities could offer errand-running for employees. Companies with a large percentage of remote workers could offer online offers from national providers like discounts on car maintenance or grocery delivery.

Think of fun ways to build community through activities like meditation workshops, indoor pickleball courts, or travel planning assistance. Be creative and seek input from employees to find out what would matter most to them.

Foster Autonomy

When employees are empowered to do their work their way, they develop a sense of pride and ownership in their work. Empowerment means that employees feel free to take risks — and even make mistakes. Create psychological safety for employees, using mistakes as learning opportunities to promote growth.

Help employees strengthen or build new competencies through upskilling and reskilling, and provide them with the tools and resources they need to do their jobs most effectively.

Offer additional tools to foster work-life balance. Make services available, and make sure to promote them so employees know that the services to make their lives easier are there and ready to be utilized.

Circles is here to create a future of work where everyone feels valued, supported, and connected. By enriching life and making it easier for everyone, both people and organizations can flourish.


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