Work life balance is frequently challenging for employees who work out of offices. It’s an even more difficult balance for those working remote to find. When an employee is working from their home, rather than a workplace, it can feel like they never find a break from their office life. They could be working at any time, during the workday, after the workday, etc. Their living room, bedroom, and kitchen are their office when their office is their home. Without viable work life balance, remote employees can easily burn out, working at a lower rate of productivity, performing worse, taking more sick days off, and even looking for a new job or career outside the company. Employers can help their team adapt to remote work and even find work life balance with these five strategies.
1. Encourage work life balance by creating and modeling boundaries for the job.
To help employees who are working from home adjust and find work life balance, managers should create and model boundaries for the workday. They should begin by developing and sharing a loose schedule for time when employees should be available for work tasks and times when they won’t be available for work. Managers should treat this schedule as though employees have left the office and gone home. To encourage work life balance, they should never email or call employees with work questions or tasks. They can also encourage work life balance by signing off from the workday in a strategic and public way themselves. Managers can let their whole team know that they are done working for the day and won’t be available to respond to respond to questions, etc. until the next day. They should take this seriously and follow through on it, only responding to emergency inquiries.
2. Assist employees adjusting to remote work by engaging in small talk in meetings about life outside of work.
Employers can help their team adjust to working remotely by taking a little time at the start of meetings to ask about life outside of work. Having managers take a demonstrated interest in topics outside of jobs, like hobbies and family, will assist employees in prioritizing their work life balance. This small talk won’t just encourage work life balance, it will also allow for time for the team and managers to connect and build better working relationships. This can be crucial especially if they never see each other in the office.
3. Encourage employees who work from home to take their paid time off.
An important tactic for helping employees who work remote jobs to search for work life balance is encouraging them to take their paid time off (PTO). Sometimes it can be challenging for those working remote jobs to schedule time off from work. When their managers help them search for time to take a day away from the home office and their job. Employees will return refreshed and ready to perform their jobs with more enthusiasm, productivity, and motivation. Employers can also encourage their team to take paid time off by doing it themselves. Managers should let their team know they will take time off from work. Then, they must follow through. They should not be available on these days for work questions or tasks (unless it’s an emergency). When employees see their managers making time for work life balance, they will feel more comfortable when they take time away from work.
4. Allow those working from home to use a flexible schedule when possible.
Employees will have an easier search for work life balance when they are allowed to have flexible work schedules at least occasionally. When it doesn’t affect their work product or output, employers should encourage employees to take time during the workday to handle errands, appointments, or just life outside of work. If employees complete their work and perform their jobs well, having flexible working schedules shouldn’t create any issues. Employers may find that a flexible work schedule actually results in employees who are working harder and performing better because they can focus on their tasks. If employees are able to attend to tasks for their personal life when they need to, they may have a clearer head when it’s time to handle work tasks and their job duties.
5. Offer remote workers a stipend to upgrade their home office.
Sometimes employees have an easier time adjusting to working from home when their home office feels less like home. Recently in the news, employers have been featured for offering a stipend for their employees who are working from home. Employees can use it to make their home office space more comfortable, productive, and distinct from the rest of their home. Even a small stipend can go a long way toward making a home office feel like a space for work. When employees are better able to delineate their home space from their home office, this helps them separate their personal life from work, too. The times spent working will feel more distinct from time spent in their personal life because the space will be so radically different from the rest of their home. Especially if employees have spent most of their careers working from an office, having the difference between their work and home spaces feel less flexible will be very helpful. It’s also worth noting that a home office stipend won’t just help with career life balance. It can also go a long way in improving employee engagement, even if the workers never leave home for the office.
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