The 5 step guide to achieving genuine work-life-balance for you and your team

How creating a culture of work-life-balance can start with you.

We know it's important: The age-old need to put your feet up and relax, worries filed neatly away at your desk along with the stationery. But in our technology-fueled world, the days of the cookie-cutter 9 to 5 are steadily becoming the stuff of history. And while we might be leaping for joy at the opportunity to kick off our shoes and enjoy a work day from home, we're also starting to suffer the consquences that come with bringing the workday into our living rooms. Checking your work emails on a night out, fighting the urge to take a peek at the team Slack channel while you're on holiday. We all do it once and a while, but if you leave it unchecked, your team might be up against some serious burnout: Reduced productivity, low morale, and high turnover. 

But all isn't lost! There are ways to tackle the encroaching threat to work-life-balance - and we're going to take you through our top 5. 

1. Respect holidays and time off

This one seems obvious, and yet over 44% of employees report checking emails, messages or texts after hours. The rise of technology has altered the way we manage our professional and personal lives forever, often to the detriment of the much needed holiday, weekend, or restorative evening Netflix binge fest. One of the best things a company can do to support work-life-balance is actually letting their employees enjoy it. No 11:00 p.m. Slack messages, holiday phone calls, or after hour reminders. On the flip side, as an employee, resist the urge to leave your notifications on while on holiday and commit your weekends to personal time! This one only really works well if everyone makes a concerted effort to follow the rule (more on that later!). 

2. Establish a protocol for after hour communication

That said, sometimes it just can't be avoided - your boss is going to cc you in that urgent email over the May long weekend or you're going to check your inbox while you're beaching in Mexico. But a presetablished set of rules for after hour communication can go a long way in preventing the utter ruin of vacations the globe over - and the bubbling resentment that comes with it. Create a set of guidelines for the office, like an email code for absolutely urgent emails; a catastrophe with a star client and your thoughts on the upcoming meeting agenda are two very different things, so label them accordingly. Better yet, if it's not time sensitive or an emergency, refrain from sending the email after hours or to vacationing staff at all. 

3. Show gratitude and give thanks

When a team member does go above and beyond or takes time away from their holiday to deal with an issue (even if it was expected during their vacation time), show them the thanks they deserve. The importance of this one is backed by a lot of research. Psychology Today found that 70% of workers actually value recognition and appreciation for their work even more than a pay raise!

4. Set the standard from the top down

We touched on this in step number one. All of these tips are really only effective if you get everyone on board, and the best way to instil a positive influence on your team is getting upper management in on the rules. In fact, 59% of employees believe the CEO and other office leaders are responsible for creating positive change in the office, and for more junior employees, it can be hard to get onboard without that sense of approval from those working above. As an office manager, you have a special position of influence, interacting with team members across various departments and levels within the company. If you can, use that influence to help guide everyone in the right direction.

5. Treat the team to special perks that include friends, family and plus ones

For most people, a great work-life-balance revolves around spending time with the ones they care most about. And so providing special perks for your team that allow them to do just that will go a long way in making them feel appreciated and supported by their employers. Moreover, it provides that hard evidence that when it comes to company culture, you're more than just talk. A few great social perks to add to your usual company benefits might include throwing a summer office party for the team and their SOs, discounts for fun days out or vacations, or take-home treats for special holidays. 

So, there you have it - our 5 step guided to getting started on a company culture that champions work-life-balance and celebrates happy teams. While you may not be able to implement everything above right away, your team is sure to appreciate a positive move in the right direction. 

What are your top tips for work-life-balance?

We'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments below and share them with the City Pantry community!