In recent years, work-life balance has morphed into a modern business mantra. However, separating personal from professional life is becoming much harder due to the growing influence of new technology in our everyday lives.
That’s why there is need to talk about work-life integration.
But what is work-life integration? Simply put, work-life integration is an approach that creates more synergy between all areas that define “life”: personal well-being, community, home/family, work, and health. It’s a means by which we can prioritize all of these parts that constitute who we are as person.
The practice of work-life integration results in a more fulfilled life that’s less stressful, according to Clinical Psychologist Maria Sirois. When employees are less stressed, they generally tend to be more productive, have higher morale and are more engaged than their stressed counterparts.
Although many models of work-life integration rely on particular mechanisms, all of them share the same basic principles. So, if you are looking at how to boost work-life integration and increase employee productivity, here is what you need to do.
Lay the general guidelines
Laying the general guidelines of work-life integration is the most important step a company needs to do. By doing this, employees become aware of what is required from them and prepare accordingly. This also helps employees understand their rights and freedom much better.
Personalize each employee’s responsibilities
A great tip contributed by Mark Mills, owner of Bridgepoint PM, is to personalize each employee’s responsibilities. Mark states “Some people love working late into the night. Some enjoy working on their own. So long as the overall results of your company aren’t jeopardized, try to consider their needs and indulge them appropriately.”
Depending on what type of business you run, this can be extremely valuable advice. If certain employees are much more productive later in the afternoon try to accommodate that. It’s in your company’s best interest for your employees to work when they’ll be most productive.
Accept the result-driven approach
Accepting the result-driven approach is the best way to ensure everything runs smoothly in the work-life integration process. With work-life integration, everything should be allowed so long as it doesn’t jeopardize employee productivity. For example, a survey showed that 7 in every 10 employees carry a work-capable device on vacation.
Forget additional tasks
If an employee has fulfilled their daily plan, let them go home and enjoy some bonus spare time. Otherwise, if you add extra tasks, you’ll only discourage them and make them procrastinate in the future.
Rescheduling those extra tasks will encourage them to be more productive and more creative.
Utilize software solutions
Using technology to maximize your business productivity creates the platform to realize true business success. For example, using Jira or Trello can help team leaders exercise agile project management and follow the work process in real-time regardless of where their colleagues are located.
Here are more ways these collaboration tools help drives business processes more efficiently:
- Analyze performance. They help provide advanced reporting and business analysis capability. This will help you better understand market trends, customer preferences, and business performance.
- Monitor business productivity and employee progress on goals.
- Motivate employees. You can do this by, say, using cloud-based sharing tools like Dropbox and Google Drive. These helps eliminate spending entirely too much time searching for files.
- Connect teams virtually within the company. You can achieve this by creating employee portals and team sites.
It is no secret that offering incentives to employees can improve performance and boost morale. There are many ways to go about this. However, offering perks such as fitness hours, lazy bags, or free snacks to your employees is no longer effective.
Here are some notable examples of companies already successful in doing it:
- Intel offers $50,000 for tuition reimbursement and an eight-week paid sabbatical every seven years.
- Stryker keeps things light by offering Ping-Pong tables on-site and having “pie-your manager” competitions.
- Employees at the Mayo Clinic can get massages.
- JM Family Enterprises provides primary care, wellness exams, complete physicals, vaccines, and lab tests at little or no costs to employees.
- Chesapeake Energy paid out more than $8 million in “safety bonuses” in 2011 to more than 6,000 employees for following safe work practices.
- Ultimate Software treats workers to a free vacation every two years.
Offer unpaid leave for events that don’t qualify under the Family and Medical Leave Act
For instance, you could offer unpaid leave to valuable employees who want to explore the option of moving to a new place for a spouse’s job or to attend graduate school.
You may also wish to offer unpaid leave for an employee who wants to extend maternity leave for a couple of months or who wants to help care for a family member with a serious illness.
Encourage short breaks throughout the day
Frequent breaks throughout the day are important to worker’s mental and physical health. In fact, studies have shown that workers who take breaks are more productive on the job than their counterparts who do not.
Hopefully, by implementing some or all of these principles, you’ll be able to boost work-life integration and increase your employees’ productivity.