How to improve employee work-life balance

work-life balance

A good work-life balance is often the most important thing in people’s working lives.

In 2019, a YouGov poll commissioned by Acas found that balancing work and home life was the most important thing to respondents for the year ahead.

With the world having seen a pandemic and widespread remote working since that poll was undertaken. The importance that people place on a work-life balance has only increased. In a 2021 Randstad survey, 65% of respondents put work-life balance as top of their priority list when seeking a new employer, and a 2023 report by Hays showed that 56% of workers would accept a lower-paid job in order to achieve a better work-life balance.

Our experts have summarised some of the key ways to improve work-life balance for employees. There isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution – what works for one individual might not work for another.


Ways to improve work-life balance for employees

Taking steps to help support your employees’ work-life balance is not only incredibly important for their wellbeing – it is also vital for helping keep employees engaged and enthusiastic, which in turn maintains good productivity in your business.

Flexible working 

This is a key one. Flexible working is a fantastic way to balance home life and responsibilities with work life. Having a flexible working policy in place and properly considering all flexible working requests can help employees to stay engaged, motivated and productive. Dealing with flexible working requests in a a reasonable manner is also a legal requirement. Check out our free flexible working guide for more information on how to do this, or read our blog on the top tips for flexible working success.

Managing workloads

Take a look at workloads and how your staff are coping – are they taking their work home? Discuss the individual’s task list and how you can help them with this. Is there any additional online training that would help? Are there any technology solutions? Could work be redistributed to help relieve the pressure on employees who are struggling – perhaps focusing certain employees on certain tasks would be more efficient. However, employers must be careful not to change roles without consultation and work should still be distributed fairly.

Annual leave cover

Sometimes employees don’t take annual leave because they’re too stressed about getting their work done, and about the workload they’ll have when they return. To help, you could put a procedure in place to make sure that workloads and responsibilities are allocated to other members of staff during annual leave. You could also encourage employees to take their leave during quieter periods so that their workload is less intense.

Encourage people to speak up 

Making sure that you create a healthy workplace culture so that employees feel they can speak up if they are struggling to achieve balance or manage pressure is extremely important. You could do this by carrying out employee satisfaction surveys to see how your staff are feeling.

Train managers to help 

Properly training line managers to monitor the wellbeing of their team and spot stress and overworking when it occurs can help address issues before they become too much. Also, make sure they check in with employees to review their workload regularly.

Encourage breaks 

Whether that’s during the working day or by using annual leave, time off is important to prevent burnout and achieve balance. Making sure people make good use of their lunch breaks can help too – why not look to put on lunchtime exercise, relaxation or mindfulness classes?

Let people seek external help 

Allowing employees to go to counselling, support and wellbeing services during working hours as they would for other medical appointments can help them feel supported at work. You could also offer employees access to an Employee Assistance Programme as part of their work benefits.


Employee work-life balance benefits

When your employees have a positive work-life balance, your business feels the positive effects too! Some work-life balance benefits include:

  • Improved staff retention
  • Happier and less stressed workplace
  • Increased productivity
  • Reduced sickness and absenteeism
  • Engaged staff
  • Improved motivation


What causes a poor work-life balance?

The CIPD found that three in five employees work longer hours than they would like to. Overwork is most common among managerial and professional workers.

It’s also more common among those who work from home, showing that flexible working may not always completely solve the problem of a poor work-life balance and may sometimes cause the boundaries between them to blur.

Some factors that can impact a poor work-life balance include:

  • Overwork
  • Commuting time
  • Impact of work on personal life and vice versa
  • Lack of provision for flexible working


How we can help with employee work-life balance

We hope this blog supported you with ways to improve work-life balance for employees! 85% of our clients say their workplace is happier, healthier, and more productive from working with us*, so if you’re looking for some expert HR advice, then why not contact us today, or speak to one of our expert HR consultants?

While some of these suggestions aren’t covered by Employment Law and can be implemented however you see fit, some others – like flexible working – must be introduced through a set legal process.

Our friendly HR & Employment Law experts are here to help, 24/7, with HR services and Employment Law services. If you’re an existing client of ours, please call 0345 844 4848. If you’re not already a client of ours, please call 0345 844 1111 to find out more.

*Citation client survey 2023, over 600 participants.

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