Empowering your workforce: Promoting work-life balance in a digital age

Empowering your workforce: Promoting work-life balance in a digital age

The digital age has reshaped the way we live our lives. Today, technology is intertwined in every aspect of our lives, specifically our workplace. When technology is utilised appropriately, it can be a tool to enhance communication and employee productivity. When used without moderation, it can become extremely harmful to one’s work-life balance.

Maintaining a healthy work-life balance within the workforce is crucial. There is a rising issue of managers or leaders reaching out to employees outside of office hours blurring work-life boundaries, leading to an increase in employee’s work hours. Due to these stressful long hours, employees do not get well-needed rest. This can hurt employee morale, productivity, and overall wellbeing. This blog will discuss strategies to improve work-life balance in the digital age.

Understanding the work-life balance landscape

Before we get into the strategies- what is work-life balance? Is it a strict 9 to 5 work hours and no contact off these hours?

Not necessarily.

Perhaps this was the idea before the digital age. Now, work-life balance is continuously evolving and reshaping its definition. Work-life balance can look very different depending on the individual. Maintaining a healthy balance would consider specific and unique accommodations one may require to keep up with professional and personal commitments. Technology has provided us with the privilege of working from home and staying connected with the team digitally. This opens up many avenues for flexibility in the work schedule.

While these privileges carry tremendous benefits, it carries some disadvantages as well. Often employees feel obligated to work longer hours, disconnected from the team, have several distractions during these work hours, and have trouble staying motivated. These challenges can have a lasting impact on mental and physical wellbeing creating a difficult lifestyle to maintain performance in the team. Hence, it is important to utilise digital benefits in moderation and cautiously.

Best practices for achieving balance

There are some tips and tricks to follow to enhance work-life balance in the digital age. Sharing these with your team will help them achieve their balance. Take a look at the tips below:

Set a schedule: Setting a schedule is crucial in a digital work environment, specifically for ones doing remote work. It can feel overwhelming to receive message notifications from your team outside of work hours. Employees may feel a need to reply immediately. Setting a schedule will allow you to divide your time between work and personal commitments. Employees will know when and when not to reply to messages.

Maintain communication: Ensure to communicate your work hours to your team. Use the various tools available online to publicize work hours. This will facilitate collaboration among the team members. Colleagues may accidentally reach out outside of work hours breaching boundaries. Furthermore, they may be in different time zones and locations making it hard to keep track of your time. Calendars can be excellent tools for communicating work hours.

Make plans after work: Set out plans to unwind after work to ensure you get your well-needed rest. This can be a workout class or grabbing dinner with friends. Oftentimes, employees do not get their rest as they cannot choose their activity to unwind. Hence, setting up options beforehand and sticking to them can ensure employees get their break after work.

Dedicated workplace: Creating an environment dedicated to work will greatly enhance work-life balance. If your living room is your workplace, it can be difficult to log off. Employees may feel obligated to work outside of work hours. However, having a space dedicated to working can distinguish leisure time from office time. This environment should ideally be distraction-free. It can be a room, a desk, or even a specific corner.

Flexible work arrangements: Empowering employees

Leaders and managers can empower their employees by providing them the autonomy to choose their work environment and timings. Many employees may be better suited for traditional work conditions, others may prefer flexible work hours and workplace. Hence, leaders should provide employees with the flexibility and autonomy to choose work conditions as it can enhance productivity and morale. Here are a few ways in which employees can change their work conditions:

Alternative work timings: Providing timings that are compatible with personal commitments can enhance job satisfaction. Many office workers may have children that they need to pick up from school or older parents they need to take care of. Allowing them to choose their schedule will ensure they can take care of their personal and work obligations without any hassle or conflict.  Employees will also have room to attend to important personal commitments that would have otherwise overlapped with traditional office timings.

Compressed work weeks: There have been debates worldwide to change laws to mandate compressed work weeks. Countries that implement this already have been shown to achieve similar productivity in compressed work weeks as compared to traditional work hours. They complete their required work hours in four weekdays to take the extra weekday to relax and focus on self-care.

Work locations: Remote work has become an attractive option for many. They can choose an environment best suited to their needs to complete their work. Leaders should provide guidelines for appropriate work environments like quiet environments with stable internet connectivity to avoid misunderstandings in the future.

Embracing balance for success

Employers must keep in mind that their employees may have obligations that are not work-related. These obligations may require their important to fulfil such as important milestones in the family or birthdays with friends. Furthermore, balancing work can provide employees with time to indulge in self-care, hobbies, and other pursuits that can enhance the quality of their lives. Employers must foster a work culture that encourages healthy work-life balance. Providing infrastructure to facilitate the process can greatly help achieve this. This will positively impact their job satisfaction, productivity, and wellbeing. Employees will feel more valued in the workplace and motivate them to collaborate with the team.