5 Tips to Finding the Right Work-Life Balance
Yesterday was Working Parents Day. And in celebration – this post will cover the everyday struggle to find the right work-life balance.
All of us know we need to take a few minutes out of our day to slow down and give ourselves a break – easier said than done! But it's especially difficult for those of us working parents who not only have to worry about work deadlines, going to the grocery store, and making dinner – we have to worry about picking up our kids from school, getting them to soccer or lacrosse practice, and helping them with homework.
According to the Employment Characteristics of Families Summary, of the 34.4 million families with children under 18 in 2013, 88.2% reported having at least one employed parent. And almost three out of every five married-couple families with children reported that both parents were working. That means that for a large part of the workforce, maintaining a work-life balance that allows for time and flexibility to raise children is a top priority.
Offering benefits such as flexible work arrangements and/or paid parental leave can help all of your employees achieve a better work-life balance and increase your employee satisfaction, attraction and retention rates.
Here are 5 tips employers and employees alike can implement to find that elusive work-life balance:
1. Make your office employee-centric. Recognize that your employees' well-being and happiness is directly associated with a better bottom line. This represents expanded opportunities for work-life balance options, such as flexible work schedules, telecommuting (even part-time), job-sharing and wellness initiatives.
2. Set technology boundaries. No doubt about it: technology has improved the quality of our daily lives. However – too much of a good thing can quickly turn into a bad thing. Set technology boundaries for yourself and your family. Decide ahead of time when you will accept work calls or emails and when you won't once you've left the building. Also - carve out daily or weekly time to spend "technology-free" family time together.
3. Think about childcare options. The US does not require employers to offer paid parental leave. While women who qualify under the FMLA can take unpaid leave following the birth of a child, working parents are looking to take more time off following the birth or adoption of a child. Paternity leave, in particular, has become a rising trend among employers.
Working parents also have to worry about good (read: reliable) childcare. Consider offering on-site daycare options or allowing working parents to bring their children to the office if the baby-sitter falls through.
4. Offer family-friendly wellness programs. While a gym membership appeals to all employees, consider going the extra mile to offer family gym memberships. Also consider extending other wellness program benefits, such as free flu shots, to the children of employees.
5. Keep a "To Do" List. Set aside a few minutes at the start or end of each day to jot down your daily "to-dos". Not only can it help ensure that you don't forget an important task, committee meeting, dentist appointment or dance recital, there is a sense of satisfaction that comes from checking off an accomplished task, no matter how small or mundane.
When you (meaning employers and employees) acknowledge the importance of your personal life, you feel valued and understood. And knowing that a company supports a healthy work-life balance, helps to keep you happy, productive and focused while at work.