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Last Updated on March 24, 2021

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

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

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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

More by this author

Jane Hurst

Writer, editor

5 Reasons You Will Never Be a Fighter 10 Simple Habits Every Effective Manager Needs to Learn 10 Ways To Help Your Employees Have A Healthy Work-Life Balance Top 10 Workplace Safety Tips Every Employee Should Know How to Start Working for Yourself and Become Your Own Boss

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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