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10 Ways To Help Your Employees Have A Healthy Work-Life Balance

10 Ways To Help Your Employees Have A Healthy Work-Life Balance

At one time, employers thought that they had to push their employees to their limits and beyond in order to get the performance they expected. Today’s employers realize that the harder you push someone, the less likely they are going to be to perform. Employees who are overworked tend to be much less productive than those who are able to balance their personal and work lives. The employees who are overworked also tend to be absent more, make more mistakes, suffer from burnout, and end up quitting. So, employers need to find ways to help their employees have a better work-life balance. Not only will their businesses prosper, but they will be known as employers who actually care about their employees. Here are 10 things that you can start doing right now.

1. Set an Example

The first thing employers need to do is set an example for their employees. We realize that this can be difficult because business owners are likely work very hard to make sure their companies succeed. However, if they can’t show their employees that they can have a great work-life balance, how can they expect them to be able to do it themselves? Employees look up to their employers, so it is up to employers to show them how to create the perfect work-life balance — or as close to perfect as possible.

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2. Go Home

When you work after-hours, it can lead to a lot of stress and burnout, not to mention overall poor health. It is the same for both employers and employees. So, you need to clock out at quitting time and encourage your employees to do the same. Sure, there are going to be times when everyone has to stay late, such as inventory days if you work at a retail outlet, but as a general rule, it is best to leave at a reasonable hour — and to leave your work at work and not bring it home with you.

3. Know when Employees are Over-Worked

Employers and their managers should be able to easily recognize the signs of overwork in employees. These include fatigue, an abundance of mistakes, absenteeism, and not caring about their jobs. It is a good idea for employers to start talking to their employees personally to find out how their workload affects them, and what can be done to make their jobs easier. In many cases, employees are afraid to let their bosses know that they are having difficulties because they are afraid of losing their jobs. The workplace should be one where employees feel comfortable coming to employers or managers if they are having difficulties.

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4. Be Flexible with Schedules

Employers need to realize that it is no longer a 9-5 world, and schedule flexibility is more important than ever. When employees have flexible schedules, it is much easier for them to find a good work-life balance. They have the time they need to take care of their families and themselves. They don’t have to worry as much about who will be able to pick up their kids after school or who is going to be home to cook dinner. Employers should also recognize that if an employee works extra hours on one day, they should have the option to work less time the next week. A great way to track employee shifts and tasks is using online shift scheduling software like Zip Schedules.

5. Allow Telecommuting

More and more people are working from home, and they are getting a lot more done. It was once thought that there are far too many distractions in the home for people to be able to get much done. But, as telecommuting is becoming more popular, employers are realizing just how valuable a stay-at-home workforce can be. When employees can work from home, they are able to better balance their home and work lives.

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6. Take Vacations

When working for or owning a small business, people tend to take fewer vacations because they don’t think that anyone else can do their work and things will fall behind. Everyone needs a vacation once in a while, even if they are just going to spend it at home. When employers encourage their employees to take a vacation, they are encouraging rest, peace of mind, and better employee health. The workload can always be adjusted while employees are away, so everything will get done on time. Some employers are even forcing their employees to take vacations by adding policies that require employees to take vacation days or lose them.

7. Have A Family-Friendly Workplace

When companies are family-friendly, it makes for a much nicer work atmosphere. There are many ways that companies can be family-friendly. For starters, they can host regular events, such as company picnics, where all employees are encouraged to bring their families. Another great idea is to implement a bring-your-kids-to-work day. Not only do parents not have to worry about childcare on these days, but the kids get to learn about what their parents do at work.

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8. Create a Healthy Work Environment

A company that has a strong employee health policy is one that has employees who are happier, healthier, and less stressed. They are better able to balance their work and home lives and they get more work done. Employees and employers should take time to exercise at different times throughout the day. Walking meetings are a great idea because you get work done while exercising. Standing desks are another option that allow employees to move around. Don’t forget about providing healthy snacks as well.

9. Take Plenty of Breaks

You might be surprised to learn that when you take frequent breaks, you get more done. This is because the more work you do, the harder it can be to continue. You start to burn out and you can’t even see straight after a while. Getting up and moving away from the desk or work station for a few minutes is the perfect solution to the problem, and you will be much more productive.

10. Encourage Communication

It is important that employers and employees communicate with one another about how to improve their work-life balance. If an employee is having difficulties, they need to speak with management about what they can do in order to have healthy home lives and still do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

Featured photo credit: KaboomPics via kaboompics.com

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Jane Hurst

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Published on September 16, 2020

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

12 Practical Interview Skills to Help You Land Your Dream Job

Today, with many companies going remote—at least until there’s a COVID-19 vaccine—technical proficiency is a vital skill for every interviewee to master. You may be asked to interview for a job on Zoom or Microsoft Teams. The way you handle yourself in the online interview (your interview skills) will say much about your ability to work from home efficiently.

Does your workspace look clean or cluttered? Is the area free from noise? Is your home office well lit?

Once hired, you may be asked to organize meetings on Zoom and other platforms. Along with mastering the technology, you will have to learn to follow certain protocols.

Now is the time to get up to speed on your technical skills. Learn which interview skills are needed for the particular job for which you are applying and practice them.

Online learning sites, such as LinkedIn Learning and Udemy, offer courses for free or a nominal membership fee. If you are a DIY type, make use of training videos offered through your particular digital tools.

Additionally, demonstrating that you have these 12 interview skills will help you land your dream job.

1. Organization

When you work in a brick-and-mortar office, some of the organizing is left to others. Your direct supervisor may host a Monday morning quarterback meeting where each worker reports on the progress on their tasks.

When you work from home, much of the organizing will be left up to you. To a much greater extent than before, you will need to develop a schedule and stick to it. Some tasks may be faster to complete from your home office where you don’t have other workers competing for your attention.

Conversely, you may find that some tasks that would have gone quickly in an office seem to take forever from your home computer. Your phone may ring a lot, which can distract you, or you may have kids and a spouse who inadvertently disrupt your schedule.

To do: Set a schedule and stick to it.

To discuss during your interview: Be specific. Point to the interview skill you utilized to create a schedule for a complex work project and followed it.

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2. Flexibility

You set a schedule for the completion of your tasks, but your prospective boss gets their work done between the hours of 2:00 and 8:00 a.m. Your West Coast partners are three hours behind your East Coast partners, and one of your partners lives in England while another lives in Australia.

Feedback and collaboration (see point 3) may need to happen asynchronously. Be the flexible candidate—the person who is willing to occasionally disrupt their schedule for the greater good of the team.

For extra credit: don’t just look up time zones, look up whether they observe Daylight Savings Time.

To do: Be flexible about meeting times.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a time when you worked on a team where members lived in different time zones. Discuss your processes.

3. Collaboration

As recently as six months ago, before the pandemic raged around the world, collaboration wasn’t quite as essential as it is today. In a remote office setting, collaboration doesn’t just mean working well with others—but actually sharing documents and editing them online on time.

Several cloud-based tools, such as Google Drive, Basecamp, and Trello, enable the type of collaborative teamwork that most companies want today.

To do: Download the correct software and practice using it.

To discuss during your interview: Discuss how you worked remotely with a group. Share how you overcame certain challenges.

4. Poise

Murphy’s Law states, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

When things do go awry, keeping your wits about you will demonstrate your consummate professionalism under fire. This will show your future bosses that you will be able to work well under the pressures of remote work.

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What could go wrong, you ask? You might be muted without realizing it—your Internet connection may not be robust, your headphones may blip out, your cellphone may ring, Zoom could have an outage. The list goes on and on.

To do: Make sure you have the most up-to-date versions of Skype and Zoom uploaded.

To discuss during your interview: Consider highlighting a time when a project did not go as planned. Demonstrate the interview skills that allowed you to rise to the challenge.

5. Communication

Your ability to handle online communication is one of the top critical skills you will need to thrive in today’s remote workplace. Download Slack if you haven’t already. Get used to toggling to a different form of online communication if one of your tools fails.

When it comes to the preferred format for your online interview, demonstrate proficiency by offering several different options. Give your phone number, Google Chat Hangouts name, and Skype ID.

To do: Familiarize yourself with video conference and online chat tools, such as Slack, Fleep, or Workplace by Facebook.

To discuss during your interview: Be prepared to share the online communication tools you’re using and examples of how you use each one.

6. Good Computer Hygiene

Setting up a backup system for your computer files is one of today’s crucial requirements for working in the digital age. Storing documents that can be shared by team members is also an efficient way to work together on presentations, articles, and reports—although studies show nearly one-third of employees avoid them because of the time it takes to find documents.

Be prepared in your interview to indicate your experience utilizing this technology, describing how you organize and store files using cloud-based collaboration tools. How do you keep track of links and tabs? Do you use Dropbox? Google Docs? Confluence? Others?

To do: Take inventory of the cloud-based document sharing and storage systems you know and use.

To discuss during your interview: Describe the document sharing tools and backup systems you utilize—both for personal protection and professional file sharing.

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7. Proper Meeting Etiquette

Today, presenting yourself virtually has its pros and cons. While you only have to show a professional persona from the waist up (make sure to straighten up your office space behind you), you must boost your energy to show that you’re engaged in the discussion.

Make your voice as upbeat as possible. Have your talking points at the ready and be careful not to ramble on, as long virtual meetings easily become tiresome. Use the mute and chat features to avoid interruptions.

To do: Once you know the meeting platform, make sure you have it mastered before your interview.

To discuss during your interview: Offer to share your screen to show an example of a work project— while at the same time demonstrating your prowess with video conferencing tools.

8. Respecting Feedback

In the age of working remotely, there may not be as many systems in place to obtain feedback (such as yearly performance reviews). Workers may need to ask for feedback, while managers may need to give more feedback than usual as the team adjusts to working off-site. Respecting feedback is on top of the interview skills list that you should learn.

Taking a proactive approach with giving and receiving feedback and incorporating it into your work style is a desirable quality that your employers will note.

To do: Reflect on the positive feedback you’ve received from past employers to bolster your confidence.

To discuss during your interview: Share a time when you received feedback that made you grow in the job. If you’re a manager, share a time when you gave feedback to an employee who needed to better their job performance.

9. Project Management

Staying on task with projects has evolved far past a to-do list, with electronic tools that can track time, manage team workloads, and even do the client billing. While your prospective employer may have its preferred project management program, your experience with any of the various options—whether it’s Basecamp, Teamwork, Smartsheet, or another—will be applicable.

To do: Know which project management software is likely to be used by the industry in which you’re interviewing, and familiarize yourself with its features.

To discuss during your interview: Highlight a project management feature that is particularly useful in helping you excel in your work, and explain how you utilize it.

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10. Staying up to Speed

Employers expect their remote workers to be technically proficient so that technology runs smoothly and doesn’t create work disruptions. Bosses count on remote workers to know enough about their systems to manage them without relying on the help of overworked IT staff.

To do: Make sure you have a fast internet connection and have a back-up plan, such as a second computer or other tethered devices.

To discuss during your interview: Note that you are diligent about keeping your computer and software up to date.

11. Attention to Cybersecurity Issues

“Virus” is a loaded term these days. Spreading a computer virus in your company, however, will not only bring productivity to a halt, but it will also make you a pariah. While working from public places using free Wi-Fi (with uneven security provisions) has waned, in pre-pandemic times, coffee shops accounted for 62 percent of Wi-Fi security breaches.

To do: Keep antivirus software updated and don’t download software without verifying its authenticity.

To discuss during your interview: Emphasize your awareness of cybersecurity risks and your care in taking necessary safety measures.

12. Teamwork

Work relationships now mostly happen in virtual settings, yet employers value team-oriented workers.

Being a part of a team gives you a sense of connection and shared purpose. A well-honed team understands how mutual reliance makes the sum of its parts greater than when individuals act on their own, improving the end product.

To do: Take stock of your attributes as a team player and where you can cultivate skills that will enable you to work more collaboratively.

To discuss during your interview: Inquire about the company’s culture and how it encourages a sense of community despite working remotely.

Final Thoughts

Preparing for remote positions available in today’s job market will mean honing your interview skills to highlight your technical abilities as well as your adaptability. By adhering to these To-Do’s and perfecting your online interview skills and charisma, you will rise above the competition and win over any prospective employer.

More Tips to Improve Your Interview Skills

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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