What do employees want?
According to a recent survey by MetLife, help with work-life balance is at the top of the list.
As many as 32% of the survey participants saw work-life balance as an important issue employers and wellness professionals should tackle in the workplace. And employers agree: In the 2009/2010 Staying@Work report, 68% of employers said lack of work-life balance is a stress producer, but only 38% say they are taking action to combat it. Seventy-eight percent said excessive work hours, which keep employees from home, was the leading offender.
Overall, risk factors like stress in the workplace lead to higher health care costs (heart disease, stroke) and decreased productivity.
So what can you do to help employees balance their life and responsibilities in and out of work?
Here are some tips to offer employees on how to balance work-life stress:
Write it out. Encourage staff to keep a log of when they feel stressed, where they are, and what activity they are doing. This will help target the more prominent stress triggers and help find solutions to avoid, or cut down, on the incidence.
Encourage Flexibility. Does your company offer flex hours? Remind employees of their choices (working from home, working for an extra afternoon off, etc.) This can help workers feel less pressured to be in the office all the time, but still get the job done.
Enforce time management. Brochures like Balancing Shift Work & Family will help employees learn how to delegate their time between what needs to be done at work, and leisure time at home.
Provide Guidance. It’s no surprise that in this economy 67% of employers said employees’ fear of job loss leads to an increase in stress. Let your employees know that you have the time—and resources—to help them manage stress and any concerns they may be having about their position.
Create Communication. Stress in the workplace is commonly caused by lack of communication which can lead to misunderstanding, frustration, isolation, etc. In fact, according to a recent study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health, men who suppressed frustration at work were two to five times more likely to suffer a heart attack or die from heart disease. Encourage employees to get up and talk to each other once a day instead of sending e-mails. Or, if more pressing issues need to be discussed, encourage employees to schedule lunch with their manager to make sure their voice is heard.
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