Having recently become a dad my priorities have shifted and now, things like work-life balance are that much more important to me. A lot has changed since the height of COVID and one of the positives to come from what was a terrible time for most, is the change in mentality of employers across the industry.
It’s no secret that we are currently experiencing a serious skills shortage in construction, and so employers must adapt to attract the best people on the market. Some have done this willingly after seeing how productive staff were throughout lockdown, others have through necessity - with the threat of losing staff to the aforementioned businesses.
As Recruiters we are in constant contact with those actively seeking work or simply keeping an ear to the ground for that next role. We’re always asking questions about what it is that motivates a person to consider a new position. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a considerable shift. Once upon a time salary, progression and culture were big factors in considering a move. Now, reasons such as work-life balance, job security and workplace flexibility are equally important factors.
Below are 5 strategies that I believe will assist employers in striking work-life balance in the workplace.
Communication is key. We’re lucky enough to work in an industry that employs people from all corners of the world. Every employee is different and so every employee is likely to view work-life balance differently. Why not openly ask your employees what work-life balance means to them and how, as their employer you could look to improve this balance? Doing this in an informal setting (perhaps over a coffee or a beer), will help your employee feel comfortable enough to share this kind of information with you.
By implementing any ideas from the feedback you’ve received you’ll create an inclusive environment that will allow your employees to feel valued and willing to offer future suggestions.
Allowing employees to have flexible workdays or flexible hours is another way to encourage a healthy work-life balance. You can go about introducing this a few ways, the first would be to emphasise the result. By ensuring expectations are clear around what you require and within what timeframe, the onus is on the employee to complete a project instead of simply focusing on the hours worked. Another option is to look at having weekly hour requirements but allowing employees to vary how many hours they work each day as long as they reach the required weekly total.
Trust in Your Staff
Ensuring trust within your team or across a wider business links closely to being flexible. There has been a stigma attached to working from home for a long time, but I think a lot of employers were surprised at how productive their staff were throughout the uncertainty of lockdown. Thankfully that stigma seems to have dropped away for many, with new working from home policies in place that allow staff anything from a day to a full week.
Setting clear expectations through open and honest communication will establish boundaries, then trusting in your staff to stay within those boundaries while offering flexibility to “get the job done” will build a strong work-life balance.
Prioritising Health & Well-being
Health and well-being have to be a priority for everyone, and since COVID there has been a lot of people affected by mental health. As a business it’s important to constantly encourage open discussions so that you create an environment where an employee feels comfortable to share this kind of information with you.
At Fetch we have introduced a free of charge Employee Assistance Program that allows all our staff and their direct family to reach out anonymously to a healthcare professional for support.
The ability to switch off after work is something that some do better than others but leaving your work phone at work is something that has definitely helped me.
Encouraging Staff to use their Annual Leave
With borders closed a lot of us have been dreaming about the day we can board a plane and lie on a beach sipping on a cold beverage, however a surprising amount of employees don’t take their annual leave.
Everyone is busy and so there is never a good time to go away, as the employer we should be identifying when our employees are starting to feel burnt out and encourage them to take a break to reset, recharge and come back rejuvenated. This can be done through ensuring your employees feel supported and giving them the confidence that you have the resources to be able to deal with the extra workload while they’re away.
With some businesses in Europe adopting a 4-day working week we may see that implemented here when the workplace is changing again, but I’ll leave that to discuss in a future blog.
Ollie is the Divisional Manager of Buildings & Property at Fetch Recruitment. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.