Encouraging work-life balance can be challenging for employers. How can a company support a healthy lifestyle, both physically and emotionally, without compromising employee productivity?
Find how you can enable a healthy balance for your employee in the following ways.
What is Work Life Balance?
In simple terms, work-life balance means finding a balance between your career and personal life. It can be challenging to achieve this balance due to various reasons, such as increased work responsibilities, longer working hours, added responsibilities at home, or having children.
Maintaining a good work-life balance has many positive effects. It reduces stress, lowers the risk of burnout, and enhances overall well-being. This not only benefits employees but also employers.
Employers who prioritize work-life balance can save costs, experience fewer instances of absenteeism, and have a more dedicated and productive workforce. Offering options like telecommuting or flexible work schedules can help employees achieve a better work-life balance.
When creating a schedule that works for you, it's important to consider how to balance both your work and personal life effectively. According to Chancey, work-life balance isn't about dividing your day equally between work and personal life. Instead, it's about having the flexibility to manage your professional responsibilities while still having time and energy to enjoy your personal life. Some days, you may need to work longer hours to have more free time later in the week for other activities.
How is Work Life Balance in Singapore?
According to Randstad, grabbing a work-life balance is a real struggle for 70% of employees in Singapore. They feel overwhelmed by their workload, leading to an imbalance between work and personal life.
Additionally, excessive overtime and dealing with unreasonable bosses or unsupportive colleagues contribute to this problem. In fact, 63% of respondents blame "unnecessary and excessive overtime" for their poor work-life balance.
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The downsides of hybrid work are evident as well. A significant 33% of survey participants shared that they end up working overtime because their bosses and colleagues send work-related emails and messages during evenings and weekends.
On the other hand, 35% appreciate hybrid work because it eliminates the need for commuting in Singapore's small city.
Interestingly, over half of the respondents (52%) believe that the best way their employers can support their work-life balance is by allowing remote work. Moreover, when it comes to creating a pleasant work environment and fostering a positive workplace culture, 38% prioritize having friendly bosses and coworkers they enjoy working with over fancy offices and extensive meeting rooms.
It's important for employers to recognize the significance of employee well-being and stress levels. They can meet employee expectations and adapt to evolving workforce trends by offering flexible working options like remote work. Job seekers in Singapore actively seek out employers who prioritize their overall well-being.
Why is work life balance important?
Maintaining work life balance is crucial since it helps reduce stress and prevent burnout at work.
Chronic stress is a common health issue in the workplace and can lead to physical problems such as high blood pressure, digestive issues, chronic pain, and heart problems.
Moreover, it negatively affects mental health, increasing the risk of depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
Sustained periods of excessive stress eventually result in workplace burnout. Employees who consistently work long hours are particularly susceptible to burnout. This condition brings fatigue, mood swings, irritability, and decreased work performance.
It's alarming for employers because, according to Harvard Business Review, the healthcare costs associated with the psychological and physical issues of burned-out employees range from $125 billion to $190 billion annually in the United States alone.
By establishing a work environment that prioritizes work life balance, employers can save money and maintain a healthier, more productive workforce.
What causes poor work life balance in Singapore?
Several factors contribute to poor work-life balance in Singapore. Here are some common causes:
1) Demanding Workload
Singapore's competitive work culture often leads to heavy workloads and long working hours, leaving employees with limited time for personal activities and relaxation.
2) Overtime Work
Many individuals in Singapore work excessive overtime, which can disrupt the balance between work and personal life. Extended work hours become a norm, making it challenging to allocate time for personal commitments and leisure activities.
3) High Work Pressure
The high-pressure work environment in Singapore, driven by expectations of productivity and performance, adds to the strain on employees. This pressure can lead to stress, affecting the ability to manage work-life balance effectively.
4) Lack of Flexibility
Limited flexibility in work arrangements, such as rigid schedules or the absence of remote work options, can make it difficult for individuals to balance their work and personal responsibilities effectively.
5) Commuting Challenges
Long commuting times and congested transportation systems in Singapore consume a significant portion of an individual's time, leaving less time for personal pursuits and family activities.
6) Cultural Expectations
Cultural factors, such as the emphasis on long work hours and dedication to one's career, can contribute to a work-centric lifestyle that prioritizes professional commitments over personal life.
How does work-life balance impact health?
One's personal health is greatly affected by a poor work-life balance. When individuals work long hours and experience chronic stress, it increases their vulnerability to heart-related issues, along with mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety.
Moreover, an imbalance between work and personal life can disrupt sleep patterns, leading to sleep disturbances, fatigue, and a weakened immune system, making individuals more prone to illnesses.
Furthermore, the lack of time for healthy activities like exercise, pursuing hobbies, and socializing can contribute to negative health outcomes.
According to The Instant Group, a workspace innovation company, Singapore ranks as the most overworked country in the Asia Pacific region. It also holds the record for the longest average working hours per week, with 45 hours.
In a joint survey conducted by EngageRocket and National Trades Union Congress U Women and Family, a striking 78% of Singaporeans reported feeling burnt out from their jobs.
These statistics are alarming, and they highlight the consequences when employees face unexpected shifts in the workplace. It becomes imperative for employers to prioritize work-life balance and proactively address the well-being of their workforce.
How to achieve work-life balance? Tips for Employer
Here are some real case examples and hacks that can help employers support their workforce in attaining work-life balance.
1) Offer flexible and remote working options
For instance, a marketing agency allows employees to work remotely twice a week, enabling them to spend more time with family or pursue personal interests while maintaining productivity.
2) End the workweek earlier
A technology company implemented "early Fridays," allowing employees to leave the office by lunchtime on Fridays. This arrangement gave employees more leisure time to unwind and recharge.
3) Encourage breaks
A software development firm introduced a "tech-free break" policy, where employees are encouraged to take short breaks without using any electronic devices. This practice helps employees relax and rejuvenate during the workday.
4) Regularly review workloads
A consulting company implemented a workload assessment system, where project managers regularly review workloads to ensure they are evenly distributed. This practice prevents excessive work pressure and helps employees manage their time effectively.
5) Lead by example
A CEO of a finance company sets an example by taking regular vacations and encouraging employees to prioritize self-care. This demonstrates the importance of work-life balance and encourages employees to follow suit.
6) Give employees time to volunteer
A retail company allows employees to use a certain number of work hours each month for volunteer activities. This not only promotes work-life balance but also contributes to employee engagement and social impact.
7) Reconsider time off
A tech startup introduced "unlimited paid time off" policy, empowering employees to take time off when needed without strict limitations. This flexibility allows employees to manage their personal commitments and achieve work-life harmony.
8) Increase support for parents
An insurance company provides on-site childcare facilities for employees with young children. This support helps working parents balance their work responsibilities with their parental duties.
9) Offer health cash plans
A manufacturing company provides employees with health cash plans to cover wellness expenses such as gym memberships, wellness retreats, or counseling services. This encourages employees to prioritize their physical and mental well-being.
10) Consider perks in the office
A creative agency created "quiet rooms" in their office, where employees can retreat for a few minutes of meditation or relaxation. This simple addition enhances work-life balance by offering employees a space to destress during the workday.
11) Ask your employees for views
Conduct anonymous surveys or hold regular feedback sessions to understand employees' work-life balance challenges and preferences. This information can guide you in implementing effective strategies that meet their specific needs.
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In the dynamic and demanding landscape of corporate life, it is undeniable that challenges arise, including the presence of additional work responsibilities and shortages in manpower within the workplace. However, it is essential to emphasize that regardless of these challenges, safeguarding the mental and physical well-being of employees should remain a paramount priority. As an employer, it is your crucial role to create an environment that promotes and protects the health of your employees.
By recognizing the significance of prioritizing employees' well-being, you demonstrate your commitment to their success and fulfillment. A healthy work-life balance not only contributes to the overall satisfaction and productivity of your workforce but also fosters a positive and supportive work culture. Through the implementation of flexible work arrangements, encouraging breaks and time off, and personalized support, you can create an atmosphere where employees feel valued, motivated, and empowered to achieve balance in their professional and personal lives.