Balancing the See-Saw of Work and Life

Key Takeaways

  1. With Gen Z increasingly entering the organization, the job compensation preference has changed from only financial to life-balance maintenance strategies.
  2. The employees stay in the organization due to three types of commitments they feel towards the organization.

Work life balance might be the most debated concept of the 21st century and will continue to be a mandatory topic for board room meetings. Its importance has grown over time, with millennials and Gen Z occupying major organizational positions. The days of compensation weighing most heavily in the job selection criteria is shifting to a healthy work environment.

glassdoor survey revealed that 56% of respondents prioritize company culture over salary.

So, it is evident that employees first look for an organization where they would feel comfortable working. A good work culture goes a long way in ensuring the happiness and satisfaction of employees. To learn more about employee satisfaction, check out this article.

The organization can face high employee turnover and less productivity if a toxic work culture is not fixed. Even though the notion of work life balance has been around for a long time, its understanding is still inadequate. This article gets to its roots while touching on ways to implement it in organizational strategies.

Work life balance need not be managed by the employee alone; the organization plays a significant role in bringing that harmony.

How to Create Work Life Balance for Employees?

So, what is the ideal strategy to strike a work life balance in your employees’ lives? Firstly, there is no one-fits-all solution to something as complex as work life balance, as it might vary by where your employees stand in their lives. But with a nuanced  life balance assessment tool like Pietential, you can understand their well-being levels and appropriately customize strategies for them.

To better understand where the organization stands in creating work life balance for its employees, you should know the ways an employee gets connected with the organization. Below, we have explained the reasons that make an employee stay inside an organization.

This 3-way model is an efficient way in which you can devise methods to keep your employees engaged and motivated. So, it is time to dig deeper!

Aligned Vision: Organizational Commitment

When the employees know well about the goals and plans of an organization, they tend to create emotional attachment and stay committed to the organization. Hence, when you can establish a transparent and understandable communication system, employees become loyal and strive to work towards accomplishing the organization’s growth. To reiterate, the needs of each employee are different, and hence they bond with your organization in different ways.

Organizational commitment can happen in three ways, and employees stay committed to any one of them depending on where they stand in their life needs. 

  1. Effective commitment
  2. Continuance commitment
  3. Normative Commitment

Emotional Attachment: Effective Commitment

When an employee is emotionally attached to the organization, they tend to go beyond the call of duty and work for the company’s best interest. The feeling of ‘belongingness’ drives employees to achieve great things for the organization. Such employees, noticeably,  are more likely to take up new challenges, innovate, and come up with out-of-the-box solutions. The reason is simple—they are emotionally attached to the company and would not want to see it fail.

The CEO and the President of Bose Corporation, Bob Maresca, shared his views on emotional connectedness with employees, saying that it can create directional working and a passionate commitment among employees. 

With that being said, how can you create the same within the organization?

  1. Aligned Values

When the organization holds an aligned value system with its employees, it is easy to create an emotional bonding among team members and with executive leaders. It instills a feeling of commitment between employees and the organization.

Hence, an organization that is like a second home to every working professional has a great and mandatory commitment to its employees’ work life balance so that they can have a healthy and happy life! As an employer or the person responsible for the wellness of your employees, you should understand and act accordingly. The above ways can be a place to start, but once you are in, you can find more ways to make it happen for your employees.

For example, HubSpot holds a highly attractive core value that can empower the employees, as given below. 

Hubspot growth with employees by providing a work life balance
  1. Respect

Respect is foremost when it comes to creating emotional attachment or connection with the employees. When they feel valued, they automatically have a deep bonding with the organization, making them give their best! 

The HR consultancy that prepared the list of the world’s best companies to work for has put ‘Microsoft’ in the first place based on how much trust and respect it has invested in the employees! It indicates that the company showed respect, which fetched them the recognition they deserved. 

  1. Flexible Work Environment

The COVID-19 pandemic has imposed a new normal, which might actually be a way to achieve life balance. So wherever possible, you can offer remote working or hybrid work environments in your organization. It will help your people to contribute to the duties of both work and family. You should hence encourage your managers to concentrate on productivity rather than the quantity of the work done.

Coinbase, the large Fintech company, has created a four-week recharge time for their employees! Designed as once per quarter, they have come up with the recharge time that will help the employees balance their life amidst intense and demanding jobs!

  1. Flexible Time Off

When the work demands working on irregular times and days, it is only fair to implement the same in time-offs as well.  It will help your employees come back to work with a fresh mind and new ideas. However, dedicated and enthusiastic an employee is, the human mind still needs to start fresh now and then. Hence many companies have adopted unlimited time-off as part of their work culture.

Giving such discretion in time-off will let them enjoy private time or family time while being at ease about the loss of pay.

This scheme was introduced in 2015 on LinkedIn! Here, the employees have the access to off-times (DTO), which helps them to put themselves in the place (family or office) where they are needed most, creating a balance in life.

You can see that the employees are completely satisfied with this type of incentive from the reviews of LinkedIn on GlassDoor. 

LinkedIn employee incentives and satisfaction

  1. Audit Workload Regularly

You should encourage your managers to audit the workload of employees on a regular basis. It will help you to identify if there is an imbalance between work and life. To ensure every employee carries only the work burden they can afford to carry, you can conduct surveys. Work allocations are to be made, keeping in mind all the roles an employee plays inside the organization. A manager should create an environment where an employee shouldn’t hesitate to come forward with their concerns.

Companies like Asana not only follow this rigorously but also provide blogs and help documents for other organizations to follow suit!

Asana promotes work life balance

  1. Offer Family Support

You can offer family support to your employees in various ways like dependent care assistance, paid parental leaves, and eldercare support. It will help them to manage their work and personal life without feeling guilty about the other. Moreover, it will also help you to retain your female workforce who generally face more issues while managing both work and family. Having an in-office setup for kids care can largely motivate the employees, as they can be at ease knowing their family is taken care of.

As we can see below, Cisco not only provides these benefits, but their employees love them for it. 

Cisco Maternity and Paternity Leaves

  1. Acknowledge unique needs

Not everybody is the same, nor are their needs; in a diverse workgroup, it is especially not the same. Hence you need to have a tailor-made approach to keep every segment of your employees motivated and satisfied. So how do you do that? You can seek the help of experts and appoint dedicated counselors to whom they can open up with ease. If not, you can take the aid of an advanced tool like Pietential, which helps you measure your employees’ life balance across various demographics such as age, gender, origin, and ethnicity. It will make your organization a highly sought workplace for any employee!

Financial Satisfaction: Continuance Commitment

When an employee is satisfied with the financial benefits they receive from the organization, they will stay with the company for an extended period. The feeling of security and stability are some of the key reasons why employees prefer to stay with an organization. All the five elements of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (physiology, safety, love & belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization) can have a direct and indirect connection to financial compensation. So to create a balance you should have an attractive package for your employees to give them a balanced life. 

Hence, the connection is made based on the understanding of what they might lose when they leave the organization. The organization becomes inevitable for leading a balanced life, so it makes the employees stay committed and remain loyal.

There are few effective financial compensation and rewards that can benefit the employees in the right way while giving them a feeling of loyalty to the organization. 

1Insurance PlansKeeps them feel secure for the future
2Disability insuranceHelps to be hopeful in life even after unfortunate events
3Tuition ReimbursementGives them a chance to upskill themselves
4Paid Vacation Adds monetary benefit and quality relaxation time
5Bonus BenefitsActs as both reward and recognition of their work
6Office GoodiesFree food and play area pay off while making it fun
7Childcare FacilitiesGives monetary benefits and builds emotional connection
8Profit SharingHigh level of recognition while rewarding by treating employees as an equal

However, it is to be noted that every monetary benefit cannot be applied to all generation/gender/ethnicity of employees. If you feel like you would want to understand them all, you can use tools like Pietential, which helps you to understand where each generation stands in their needs and preference.

Below, you can see the benefits preferred by different generations, as given by the Academy of Innovative HR

Generation based benefits to promote work life balance

Obligation and sense of Duty: Normative Commitment

When an organization has been a part of an employee’s life for a long time, they develop a sense of duty or obligation toward the company. In such cases, usually, it is seen that employees don’t leave the organization even if they have concerns with their job or have better options outside. The feeling of ‘this is where I belong’ is what drives these employees to stay with the organization. A previous act of understanding from the employer, manager, or colleagues makes them stay obliged to be part of the organization due to gratitude.

Interestingly, this can be an intersecting obligation created either by the organization’s emotional connection or financial rewards. So, this three-way model is intertwined with each other, and they can be key to a solid employer-employee relationship.

If you fit this model inside Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, you will know the type of commitment depends on where they stand in the hierarchy, from physiological needs to self-actualization needs. So it will be quite convenient if you can have a tool like Pietential, which is built by reverse-engineering Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. With this tool, you can figure out  the ways in which you can help to establish work life balance for your diverse employee populations.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What kind of culture can help organizations to deliver work life balance to their employees?

It is imperative to have a favorable environment that supports the employees’ good health and mental wellness. 

  1. Why do organizations need a work life balance program?

It gives employees a way to have work under their control while increasing their productivity.

  1. How is work life balance related to organizational behavior?

When you have defined policies and programs in place, you are likely to deliver an efficient Work life balance to your employees.