Has the meaning of the term work-life balance reduced with time? What effect can it have on employees? Read on to find out more…
With the whole world receding into working from homes and businesses being run online, everyone seems to have forgotten to maintain a healthy work-life balance. What is work-life balance? Work-life balance is defined as the balance between an individual’s work and personal life and depends largely on the focus of the individual and their time allotments. Work-life balance is a very important aspect of every person’s life. It is a critical aspect of any working environment. Maintaining a work-life balance can help reduce a lot of stress and tension amongst individuals and help them lead healthy lives. What are the costs of poor work-life balance?
By creating a work environment that prioritizes work-life balance, employers can save money and maintain a healthier, more productive workforce. But what exactly does work-life balance look like? Well, that’s where things can get a bit complicated. Work-life balance means something a little different to everyone. Over the years, the knowledge and approach of work-life balance have been constantly evolving. Employers have been trying their best to inculcate a healthy work-life culture. But with the growing times, both the factors are getting mixed up and it can have serious consequences.
Let us discover some of the costs of a poor work-life balance can have on employers and employees:
Effect on retention rates
An improper work-life balance can affect the retention rate of companies, causing them to lose out on a significant number of employees in a short period of time. If employees are unable to adjust to their current way of working, it is very likely that they are going to end up feeling not so encouraged about their work, leading to them quitting their jobs.
Effects on employee health
Adding on to the effects of employees quitting their jobs, a poor work-life balance leads to a lot of health problems in them. Stress, anxiety, depression, irritability, and various cardiac ailments are some of the most common effects. These make employees unable to contribute their best to any sphere in their lives- be it work or life. A lot of people who suffer from mental health ailments complain of having a typical environment in which they cannot balance their work and personal life. This eventually makes them unhappy, further leading to deteriorating health.
Effects on company productivity/ work culture
A poor work-life balance is like a vicious cycle- because employees are not able to maintain a balance, they become unhealthy. And because they are unhealthy, their productivity reduces and this keeps repeating until it reaches a peak and no one can take it anymore. Any organization with such a work culture where employees are unable to maintain a balance, tend to have lower productivity as compared to other organizations. Such companies usually need to work more on their working environment and make sure that their employees are healthy as well as productive.
Effect on organizational commitment and loyalty
When employees are happy in their roles, work will feel more like a second home, and less like working for a paycheck. Employers should prioritize competitive compensation, comfortable office conditions, opportunities for professional growth, and opportunities for social connections. Employers should offer flexible work hours, the ability to work from home, and unlimited PTO to create a more flexible work environment that appeals across generations of workers. This will also enable employees to meet all their commitments towards their work and organization, ensuring their loyalty towards their job.
Rising costs of health care expenditure
Costs of poor work-life balance and an added disadvantage to all of this is the huge amount of expenditures that employees and employers need to bear to relieve themselves of the balance in their lives. Additional healthcare services, medicines, therapy sessions, medical check-ups, etc all of this adds up to a huge amount. According to research conducted by Harvard Business School in the US, the psychological and physical problems of burned-out employees cost an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare spending in the United States. A healthy work environment can help reduce all of these tremendously.
There is a fine line separating the personal and the professional spheres, and the sooner individuals realize this and differentiate both, the more likely they are to be happy. Attitudes on work-life balance will continue to evolve with cultural, generational, and economic changes. Flexible leaders can update or reinvent their workplace culture to try something new if employees report poor work-life balance. While maximizing employee productivity will always remain a constant goal, ensuring employees have the time they desire away from the office and enjoy their time spent in the office is the best way to retain talented employees and make them lifers, regardless of perceived generational differences.
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