The line between work and home life has all but vanished for many since the start of the pandemic. As employees began to live and work in the same space, employers were forced to reconsider the employee experience. While this was an uncomfortable shift for many organizations, employers who have embraced this new reality are experimenting with ways to create a strong work-life culture that meets both employee needs and business goals.
What are some best practices to create a strong work-life culture? Specific initiatives and benefits may vary, but in general, there are a few tried and true methods so that any company will end up with happier and healthier employees.
President Theodore Rosevelt is quoted as saying, “Nobody cares how much you know, until they know how much you care.” Organizations build their foundation on great strategies and plans, but without empathy the company will fall. Now more than ever, employees need to know that their organization cares about their holistic health and feel psychologically safe at work. Employee benefits that used to appeal to employees, like great workspaces, gym memberships, and company outings are less enticing than they used to be. Employees are more interested in companies that create a strong work-life culture by prioritizing good communication, feedback, and appreciation. Building a culture your employees love means showing you care and honor the challenges of work-life balance.
The 9 to 5 workday is no longer the norm. With more employees working a remote or hybrid schedule, they are free to help with childcare, run errands, or tend to their physical health. Agile organizations that embrace flexibility see better performance from their teams and create a strong work-life culture. If your employees are fully back in office, flexibility might include encouraging employees to leave early once in a while or giving extra PTO days to volunteer or care for their mental health. Employee engagement trends for 2022 support the need for more commitment to flexible work arrangements. A worldwide initiative started by 4 Day Week Global is attempting to standardize a 4 day work week across the globe with the claim that “78% of employees with 4 day work weeks are happier and less stressed.” Initiatives like these may lead to better productivity, loyalty, and wellbeing for employees across organizations.
One of the hardest shifts for organizations to make when employees shifted to remote work was to trust that important work would get done. The general sense was that employees left unsupervised would produce subpar work. In reality, productivity generally increased. As a result of more autonomy, employees became more productive and able to work in their own environment at their own pace. When people work on hours that they decide, they are more effective employees, but that was too hard to coordinate in an in-person office. The shift to working from home let employers control outcomes without hours, and employees dictate their own hours to produce the same – or greater – outcomes. Employers who build trust into their culture see benefits like:
- More revenue
- Great efficiency
- Increased performance
- Lower stress
- Less attrition
- Improved morale
- An environment where people can perform at their best
Building trust is as easy as giving employees the benefit of the doubt, extra time built into their schedule to let them make their own schedule, and fostering a culture where people come first. When employees feel respected and trusted, they give more to the company. Reciprocity is the name of the game when you rely on people to get your deliverables taken care of. Trust helps create a strong work-life culture in which employees thrive and organizations grow.
To create a strong work-life culture, organizations must embrace empathy, flexibility, and trust into their core identity. Companies who accept this new cultural expectation will see greater returns with a healthier and happier workplace.