Work-life balance for me is no longer about the descriptive term or if it is achievable. Call it work-life effectiveness or work-life blending, the challenge and opportunities remain the same. If you are looking for how to turn around your organisation’s work-life balance initiatives and ideas, you just hit a gold mine.
Sometimes, the challenge is not about an imbalance that we see in the organisation where we work. But the opportunities for a ‘better’ life that we observe in the routines of those we love and care about; our friends, colleagues or relations. Choosing to look out for others with empathy, will ensure that any work-life balance initiatives and ideas that we come across is cherished and shared like a life saving device.
Every month, Prairie Business asks several regional business leaders a question or two about a relevant business topic. The question for August is: “What initiatives has your company implemented to help build a work-life balance for its employees?” Below is how four regional leaders replied.
Work-Life Balance Initiatives And Ideas For Success At Work And At Home
Noah Fischer, human resources and organizational development manager, EAPC Architects Engineers, Fargo, N.D.
We are proud of our culture at EAPC and continuously look for ways to improve it for the health and well-being of our employees. We recognize that our employees’ lives outside of work is incredibly important to them, whether it is their family, pets, hobby, life circumstances, or the need to just recharge.
“The challenge with work-life balance is that rarely anything in life is in balance, but rather intertwined as a constant push-pull.”
Our leadership recognizes that production, performance, and employee retention improve when we make concerted efforts to support our employees and what is important to them outside of work.
Some specific work-life balance initiatives and ideas that we have implemented include;
- deploying an action team to review programs and processes on how we on-board and assimilate new employees,
- surveying current employees on our corporate culture on what we do well and how we can improve, and
- requiring each manager work with their employees to create a career development plan.
These initiatives are creating conversations, building rapport, and informing managers on what our employees need to be supported both at work and at home. Our goal is that the cumulative effect will position both the employee and the firm to be successful.
‘Life’ Happens – But Work-Life Balance Initiatives And Ideas Don’t Just ‘Happen’
Steve Schmitz, president/CEO, First Community Credit Union, Jamestown, N.D.
At FCCU, we think of our staff as family. As such, our company culture puts family first because we understand how important a work-life balance is for the overall health and well-being of our staff.
The following are ‘normal’ initiatives and additional ideas that came up with the outbreak of COVID-19, especially with school closures.
- Generous Paid Time Off (PTO) is one of the normal. But employees with limited PTO accruals were allowed to go up to 80 hours negative during COVID to ensure that no one missed a paycheck.
- Another is flexible schedule whenever possible to accommodate appointments, kids’ activities, family time, etc. where staff can make up time later.
- There is full access to Extended Illness Bank (EIB) so staff can be with their family during COVID. This is alleviate their concerns about lack of daycare, home schooling, underlying health conditions, etc.
From our Board of Directors and throughout our company, we constantly try to be understanding that ‘life’ happens. And we know that happy employees are the ones with a healthy work-life balance.
Technology And Flexible Work Schedules Creates Collaborative And Productive Environment
Sarah Aldinger, principal architect, Architecture Incorporated, Sioux Falls, S.D.
“The challenge of work-life balance is without question one of the most significant struggles faced by modern man.”Stephen Covey
At Architecture Incorporated, we strive to create an office environment that allows our firm to interact with each other in a collaborative and productive way.
- We take advantage of the latest technology, which allows us to provide flexibility in how we work as a team.
- We also believe that family comes first. Offering a flexible work schedule allows our staff to make adjustments as needed, especially during these unprecedented times.
By supporting our staff in their personal lives, we in turn have staff who are vested in the success of the firm.
You may also like, Toyota Giving “Eligible” Employees Option to Work from Home Permanently
Leadership Driven Wellness, Employee Assistance And Fun Family-Oriented Ideas
Jeremy Elbert, senior vice president, financial advisor and branch manager, D.A. Davidson, West Fargo, N.D.
D.A. Davidson’s have always had tools in place for strengthening work-life balance. The leadership is however especially cognizant of the importance of balance during the pandemic, when people are more isolated and face additional stress and health threats.
- A major tool is the wellness program, which encourages associates to care for themselves physically and emotionally and the company provides helpful direction. The program includes fitness challenges, a health-information newsletter, and incentives for personal improvement. Many offices have designated wellness champions who help others with work-life balance.
- An Employee Assistance Program that covers a range of mental health issues, such as abuse, depression, grief, stress, relationship and parenting problems, workplace issues and more. In addition, employees can be connected to professionals to discuss financial and legal issues.
- Generous vacation, and scheduled family-oriented events focuses on having fun; from holiday events to celebrating milestones.
- Generous leaves of absence allows time off for children’s school activities, adoptions, maternity and paternity leaves and more.
Probably most effective, however, is a leadership environment that encourages everyone to take time for themselves. We work to assure everyone that it’s critical to take time away from work responsibilities.
A rephrase from an original work by Insights & Intuition; from a subscription status unhindered special offer.