Sydney, January 28: SeventeenHundred, the work-life, diversity and inclusion solutions provider, has today announced the five strategies that its clients found to be the most successful when seeking to create a better work/life culture for their employees.
With technology enabling workers to effectively take their offices with them – whether out and about or at home – the expectation that employees are available, whether they are at their desks or not, is now standard. Managed well, having to be available outside of the standard work-day can allow for a strong work/ life balance, by giving staff the ability to be flexible in where they work. This allows employees to manage their responsibilities as carers, or look after their health, without having set hours that they are expected to be in the office.
Practical experience in implementing work/life balance has shown that in many cases this opportunity is misunderstood and poorly implemented, and often used more as a way to extend working hours so they become invasive into the home, rather than allow employees greater control over their use of time. The result is that many approaches to implement work/life policies lead to greater dissatisfaction within the workplace.
It is for this reason that SeventeenHundred believes organisations should think of work/ life balance as work/ life integration; where management seeks to break down the attempt at building a clear line between work and “life,” and instead makes work a part of – but not the entirety of – a person’s life.
There are five key strategies that organisations that have implemented successful work/life programs follow:
· A focus on flexibility – Organisations that provided flexible work, carer support programs, and emergency back up care/ access to resources were the ones that were most successful in helping employees juggle between their work and life commitments.
· A review of the culture within the business – Businesses that took the time to review how people worked, whether they spent long hours in the office just to be seen, whether they were encouraged to be flexible with their work when they needed to, and how employees were being managed by senior executives, were the ones that had a firmer understanding on the kind of working culture within the organisation. This process allowed executives to adjust strategy if the review uncovered problem areas.
· Ensuring teams are properly resourced – Poorly resourced teams will exhibit a series of indicators that the culture review within the business will red flag – long hours, poor retention, absenteeism, negative commentary in engagement surveys and exit interview data. One of the best things that businesses can do to improve work/ life integration is ease the stress burdens placed on each individual person by resourcing their work properly.
· Making managers more accountable with facilitating work/ like integration – The businesses meeting their work/ life balance goals best are those that are encouraging the managers to be keeping an eye on hours worked, and encouraging staff not to work long hours simply to create the perception of working long hours. Some are, almost literally, pushing their staff out the door, and such a gesture is appreciated.
· Increase awareness of employee entitlements; communication with employees around the flexible work entitlements, carer’s leave and other such support programs – Employers that are providing their staff with quality content and communication on strategies to facilitate a stronger work/ life integration are the ones that find employees more invested in the programs, thus improving the management of their work/ life balance.
“We are seeing more organisations understand just how important it is to get the work/ life balance – or work/ life integration balance –right for their staff,” Fiona Hitchiner, Diversity and Work-Life Specialist at SeventeenHundred, said.
“With such a tight employment market at the moment, retention and staff happiness are critical factors in maintaining the overall health of a business. We have found that organisations took their work/ life balance strategies far more seriously in 2015 than ever before, and the early signs for 2016 is that this growth in focus is only going to accelerate.”
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Matt Sainsbury, Launch Group
Laura Blue, Launch Group
SeventeenHundred provides work-life, diversity and inclusion solutions that support organisations and their employees.SeventeenHundred provides services that help people balance work commitments and external responsibilities, with the aim of making life easier.