Establishing A Work/Life Balance
The pressure of an increasingly demanding work culture in the UK is perhaps the biggest and most pressing challenge to the mental health of the general population. Nearly two thirds of employees have experienced a negative effect on their personal life, including lack of personal development, physical and mental health problem, poor relationships and poor home life, thanks to their demands at work.
People spend the majority of their time in work, and the extent to which a job can affect personal wellbeing cannot be understated. With the cost of replacing staff lost due to mental health conditions reported to be £2.4bn per year in the UK alone, it makes sense for employers to help their employees combat the illness and build a culture of acceptance and support.
It therefore comes as no surprise that governments and companies around the world are looking at ways to ensure the wellbeing of their employees.
France’s labour reform bill has been highly controversial but there is one part of it that is undisputed – the “
right to disconnect” clause. Companies of more than 50 people will be obliged to draw up a charter of good conduct, setting out the hours – usually in the evenings or on weekends – when staff are not supposed to send or answer emails.
US insurance giant AETNA pays their employees bonuses for getting a
good nights’ sleep. Employees were given sleep monitors and, for every 20 nights’ good sleep an employee gets (over 7 hours), they are given $25, up to a maximum of $300 a year.
A company cannot remain productive and profitable if their employees are mentally exhausted.
Here are four simple steps a company can take to ensure their employees maintain a good work/life balance:
Have defined working hours. Ensure that employee workloads are manageable within these time constraints. Encourage a culture of openness. Employees must feel able to speak up if the demands placed on them are too great. Train managers to recognise the signs of stress and a poor work/life balance in employees. Know the effects that stress can have on a person and put preventative measures in place. Put in place policies that acknowledge the links between work-related stress and mental health. Regularly monitor and evaluate polices against performance indicators ie. Sickness or staff satisfaction.