Over 56 percent of workers spend more than 40 hours per week in the office, and over 63 percent spend at least 5 hours working on the weekends. Does this sound familiar to you? Do you struggle to set boundaries between your work life and your personal life?
If so, this guide will provide some practical work-life balance examples to help you set better boundaries as a team leader and inspire your employees to do the same.
20 Great Work-Life Balance Examples
A good work-life balance looks a bit different for everyone. That’s why we’re showing you 20 examples of how you can set more boundaries as a leader, foster more balance within your company, and encourage your team members to seek out balance between their work and personal lives:
1. Enact Flexible Leave Policies
Rather than giving everyone a set number of sick days and vacation days, combine it all into paid time off — or PTO for short. This gives you and your team a chance to take days off when needed without having to justify how you’re spending your time.
Offering unlimited PTO is a hot topic in the startup world and its becoming more popular among companies across the US as well. As long as your employees are getting their work done, this allows them more freedom in their schedule.
2. Encourage Socialization
Don’t look down on employees for having water cooler conversations or chatting in between assignments — better yet, join in when it makes sense to do so!
Encouraging regular socialization unrelated to work builds stronger relationships and increases employee morale in the workplace.
Don’t require everyone to show up at 9 am and leave at 5 pm. If possible, allow team members to set their own schedules and give them the freedom to work from home when needed. This asynchronous communication can be supported by using a collaboration software in your team.
Google has seen great success from its 20 percent policy, which allows engineers to spend 20 percent of their time on personal projects and ideas.
You might not be able to justify allocating this much time to personal projects. However, you can still encourage your team members to be creative and work on things that bring them joy while on the clock.
5. Implement Regular Team-Building Exercises
Similar to water cooler chat and day-to-day socialization, implementing regular team-building activities can foster stronger relationships and help everyone to feel happier in and out of work. And if your team is hybrid – virtual team building activities allow you to include everyone, no matter where they're joining from!
6. Create a “No Work after Hours” Policy
If you don’t want to work on the weekend or have your team members working on the weekend, implement a strong “no work after hours” policy. Let everyone know that they’re not expected to work on the weekends or in the evenings and give them time to rest.
Even if you're working asynchronously this works! As everyone knows that your working hours apply to your working time zone and you're "on" during a set block of time.
You shouldn’t have to sacrifice your hobbies for your job, nor should your team members. Encourage everyone to do things they enjoy and show an interest in their hobbies when you can.
A great way to do this is by offering a stipend for certain activities – gym memberships, spas, a class to learn calligraphy, or even a book club!
8. Distribute Employee Happiness Surveys
Regularly distributing employee happiness surveys makes it easier for you to understand how people are feeling on the job (including how they feel about their work-life balance). Keep track of the data from these surveys using reporting tools so you can monitor progress over time.
Providing on-site childcare can be a great service for employees with kids. They can rest easy knowing where their children are located, and this frees them up to focus on their assignments and be more productive.
For co-located teams, establishing designated quiet spaces (and encouraging everyone to use them) gives you and your team members a chance to rest and recharge in between projects. This can be very helpful for those who are feeling overwhelmed and need help decompressing.
Employee Assistance Programs (or EAPs) provide team members with access to trained professionals who can help them through a variety of challenges — including substance abuse issues, stress, financial struggles, relationship problems, and more.
Think outside the box when it comes to providing team members with bonuses and rewards. If you can’t afford to pay them more or offer a cash bonus, consider something else valuable — like vacation vouchers, extra days off, mornings or afternoons off, etc.
Offer resources to help people prioritize their physical health. This might include access to on-site healthcare professionals so they can get regular health checks. Offering access to an on-site gym (and time to use it) can also be beneficial.
Lots of people feel less stressed and happier when they’re spending time with their pets. Creating a pet-friendly work environment is a great way to improve work-life balance and save team members from worrying about what their dogs are doing during the day.
Holding regular 1:1 meetings will keep you in the loop about how team members are feeling. It also gives you a chance to learn what you can do as a leader to improve your team’s work-life balance.
Encourage everyone to take frequent and regular breaks throughout the day. This is a great way to keep team members engaged, motivated, and happy at work. It reduces their chances of dealing with burnout, too.
Set a good example by clocking out at a reasonable hour (and encouraging team members to do the same as well).
If you work until 8 pm every night, your team might assume that you expect them to as well. This could cause extra stress and throw off their work-life balance.
You can also lead by example by making time management a priority. Use tools like time blocking or the Pomodoro Technique to stay productive while also making space for regular breaks.
Paid maternity and paternity leave are important benefits that foster a strong sense of work-life balance. Paid parental leave has been shown to increase employee loyalty, too.
20. Implement “Workations”
Workations allow team members to work remotely from a destination of their choice. They give everyone a chance to relax and decompress in a new location while still staying productive and making sure everything gets done.
Benefits of Work-Life Balance
When you and your team members figure out how to balance work and life, everyone enjoys a variety of benefits. The following are some particularly noteworthy ones:
A greater sense of work-life balance can increase happiness for you and your employees.
There are a few reasons for this, including the fact that a better work-life balance allows for more social time. There is a direct correlation between the number of social interactions a person has each day and their sense of joy and belonging.
Improving work-life balance can improve health outcomes, too. Those who have flexible work options, for example, tend to be less stressed, have better physical and mental health, and enjoy better sleep.
Employees who are happy, healthy, aren’t dealing with high stress levels, and are getting plenty of sleep tend to be more productive than their unhealthy, stressed out, and exhausted counterparts.
The results of one study showed that those who are happy with their sense of work-life balance work 21 percent harder than those who aren’t happy. They are also 33 percent more likely to plan to stay with their current employer long-term.
More than 70 percent of employees consider themselves to be disengaged at work, which in the U.S. results in a productivity loss of $450 billion.
If you want to increase employee engagement and motivation among your team members, you ought to make sure they have a good amount of work-life balance. After all, when people are able to set clear boundaries between their job and their personal lives, it’s easier for them to be committed to their tasks and assignments during the workday.
Reflect on these work-life balance examples so you can figure out how to set better boundaries.
- Work-life balance looks different for everyone, so it’s important to offer lots of options to accommodate each team member’s needs.
- Figuring out how to balance work and life provides lots of benefits, including happier teams and increased employee engagement, motivation, and productivity.
- Leaders must lead by example and set the tone and expectations for the team when it comes to work-life balance.
- If you work past 8 pm every night, your team will likely feel obligated to do so as well.
- By emphasizing the importance of work-life balance and setting an example for your team, you can help everyone to feel happier and more productive.
Weekdone Team Compass offers a variety of features to assess work-life balance for yourself and your team — custom engagement templates and 1:1 meetings, which allow you to better understand how your employees are feeling and where you need to make adjustments.
Check out Weekdone Team Compass today to learn more or sign up for a free trial.