Employee engagement is very important at any organization. It’s also fairly uncommon. Gallup polls indicate a mere 13% of employees worldwide are engaged with their jobs. Many are actively disengaged.
Why? Reasons vary. However, burnout may be a major one. For instance, in 2018, half of surveyed American employees reported they wouldn’t take a summer vacation, even if they could afford doing so. Respondents frequently reported they simply couldn’t justify taking time off from work.
This is not an attitude you want your employees to have. Yes, in the short run, they may seem more productive if they’re willing to stay late and skip vacations. In the long run, however, this type of lifestyle has a negative impact on engagement levels.
It’s much more important to prioritize work/life balance. Make sure your employees feel comfortable using their vacation days and taking breaks when they need them. The following are just a few reasons why this is an essential value.
It may seem counter-intuitive, but according to numerous studies, employees who regularly take vacations (and spend a relatively long time away) are actually more productive than those who do not.
This makes sense from a psychological perspective. Research indicates the human mind and body simply need a break from time to time. No one can perform to the best of their abilities if they are overworked. Thus, if you want your employees to truly work hard, you should also want them to step away from work on occasion.
Boosting employee retention is another important goal to prioritize. After all, the average cost of turnover per employee is $15,000. Keeping your employees happy is simply a practical financial matter.
This is another reason to make sure work/life balance is among the top values at your organization. In one study, 89% of HR professionals whose companies implemented flexible scheduling options reported seeing improvements in retention.
The Atmosphere Improves
No one enjoys working alongside miserable people. Unfortunately, if your employees are overworked and over-stressed, the workplace environment isn’t going to be very positive for anyone.
However, managers who focus on offering their employees greater work/life balance tend to find that general employee happiness improves as a result of doing so. This obviously leads to greater engagement and retention. It can also eventually result in major cultural shifts. As more and more employees begin to feel enthusiastic about their jobs, that enthusiasm will rub off on others. This makes everyone happier about the idea of coming in to work.
Attracting Top Talent
Work/life balance initiatives don’t simply help you enjoy stronger relationships with your current employees. They can also help your business attract talented job applicants in the future.
For instance, surveyed millennials report that flexible scheduling is a very important quality they seek out in employers. Job seekers will naturally be more inclined to work at your company if they feel that doing so will offer them the freedom to enjoy life outside of work when they need to.
Of course, knowing you have to offer work/life balance isn’t the same as actually doing so. You need to coordinate with HR, managers, and executives to determine what changes your business can make to better serve employee needs.
Doing so is worth the time investment. In the long run, offering work/life balance will yield greater employee engagement, giving you a major competitive advantage.