According to Totaljobs, 57% of jobseekers cite a work-life balance as the key motivation for a career move, above a higher salary (52%) and learning new skills (38%). This National Work-Life Week Sodexo Engage, the employee benefits specialist, advises employers on how to adapt employee benefits to support a healthy work-life balance.
1. Prioritise physical wellbeing and mental wellbeing
While working from the comfort of home is a popular perk of remote working; exercise is often put on the backburner. Employers should, where possible, encourage time for physical activity. People who regularly exercise enjoy a greater sense of accomplishment and confidence that carries through to their work. Moreover, exercise gets people out and moving, helping to consolidate their boundaries between work and their personal lives.
With people gradually returning to the office, even in a hybrid system, it might be the perfect opportunity for employers to implement a cycle-to-work scheme. With this benefit, employees can not only save on the cost of the commute but can also embody a healthier lifestyle. Additionally, discounted gym benefits can encourage people to keep active, without the heavy price tag.
2. Encourage time off
With many transitioning to a new hybrid way of working, striking a balance between on and off time might be a challenge. For those resuming some office-based working, adding a commute back into the day alongside sorting issues like childcare could create another layer of stress, while those who are working remotely might still be struggling to switch off, with remote workers being less likely to take breaks throughout the day.
Employees should be encouraged to take their annual leave, whether that entails travelling or spending time with friends and family. Employee benefits like discounts off days out, or holidays, can provide some financial support and encouragement to take a proper break. This means employers should also discourage working throughout annual leave and advise against checking work emails.
3. Watching out for “burnout”
While the ease of working from home was initially welcomed by many, certain employees may now be feeling isolated. In some cases, this can contribute to burnout. If left unchecked, employees can suffer from immense stress, which can damage their mental health, motivation, and overall engagement. In extreme cases, it can even manifest in physical side-effects.
By offering employees the right benefits, employers can address burnout and fatigue. An Employee Assistance Programme, for instance, helps employees manage stress in both professional and personal situations through face-to-face counselling and confidential mental health support. Beyond benefits, leaders at every level should endeavour to understand the signs of employee burnout and learn to offer appropriate support when it is required.
Jamie Mackenzie, Director at Sodexo Engage, comments:
“With hybrid and remote working here to stay, employers need to listen to their employees when helping them strike a healthy work-life balance. The pressure of being constantly available may seriously impact employees’ wellbeing, which will only add to the stress of adapting to the post-pandemic world of work.
“There are plenty of ways for employers to foster a happy, productive, and engaged workplace, be it virtual or in person. The long-term benefits of a healthy work-life balance cannot be underestimated, with employees often feeling more positive, engaged, and productive in the workplace. This National Work-Life Week presents a valuable opportunity for employers to get their efforts towards this off the ground.”