work life balance
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Promoting good work-life balance? Here’s what you should offer

7 Dec 2016

A good work-life balance is important for employees. It keeps them happy, it makes them more productive and they are more likely to stay with a company. But for companies who think simply offering flexible hours takes care of that, they’re in for a shock.

When it comes to retaining talent, companies need to offer more than just a competitive salary. If the Hays Salary Guide 2017 taught us anything, it’s that more employees are moving for career progression and a better work-life balance.

When asked what they felt was most important, employers and employees both agreed that career development was the key factor, with 25pc and 21pc respectively ranking it number one.

However, only 11pc of employers ranked work life-balance as most important compared to 18pc of employees, making it second on their list after career development. Of those surveyed, 43pc would rate their current work-life balance average, poor or very poor.

Not to mention, Ireland actually slid down the work-life balance rankings this year. So, how can we rectify the situation?

Time off

There are plenty of ways employers can improve the work-life balance of their employees and it’s not just about flexible hours – though that is a start.

Big companies such as KPMG, Etsy, MetLife and Deutsche Bank have all started offering parenting coaching to employees who have become new parents, either online or over the phone.

Aside from making the employees’ lives easier during a particularly stressful time and aiding parents in the transition back to work after parental leave, this perk actually helps the company too.

Making the work-life balance more harmonious, particularly for new mothers, will help retain more women in the company and eventually close the gender gap at a senior level.

Companies have also offered more generous parental leave for both men and women. Netflix offers completely unlimited maternity and paternity leave for the first year of the child’s life.

It’s not just parental leave that can improve employees’ work-life balance. Indeed and LinkedIn offer unlimited time off to their employees. This policy treats employees like responsible adults, while employers benefit from employees who come back to work fresher from time off.

Other perks

If your company is not in a position to offer unlimited time off, consider adding paid volunteer days into the calendar so that employees can take advantage of extra days off work to do something rewarding.

Healthcare is another big one, with 55pc of employees deeming it important according to the Hays Salary Guide 2017. However, health insurance or private medical cover was only offered by 44pc employers surveyed.

Any step towards helping employees with their healthcare needs is a step in the right direction. This can be lower rates on insurance or a GP discount will help your employees’ work-life balance.

Bringing services into the office once a month or so can also improve their work life balance, even if the service itself isn’t complimentary. Companies can organise a dentist to set up in the office on a monthly basis at virtually no cost, and employees can mentally check one errand off their list.

Rewarding your staff once a month with a free breakfast or lunch in the office can go a long way to increasing their motivation, happiness and productivity. The happier they are during their work day, the more balanced they will feel.

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the editor of Silicon Republic in 2023, having worked as the deputy editor since February 2020. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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