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Promoting better work-life balance for your employees

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Workplace health and quality of life initiatives have been proven to boost organizational productivity. But how do you get started with them?

Should employers be concerned about their employees’ family problems and parenting issues? This issue has regularly been in the news since the beginning of the pandemic and again in 2022. One in three employees report experiencing severe mental fatigue or symptoms of burnout (Mercer, 2022).

Employees in a “presenteeism” situation (physically present but with difficulty concentrating due to illness, personal problems, or other), cannot contribute to organizational performance.

Worker productivity is something that matters to all employers. And yet, managers are often hesitant to talk to their teams about their family life because they worry it could be seen as overstepping. At the same time, we know there is a direct correlation between an employee’s state of mind—which is often influenced by their personal life—and their ability to carry out their work effectively.

Of course, it is not up to the employer to intervene in an employee’s family matters and personal problems. Instead, companies need to take concrete measures to make it easier for staff to reconcile their personal life and well-being with their professional responsibilities.

Studies have shown that when companies take steps to support work-life balance, workers are more motivated and satisfied, which increases their productivity and decreases absenteeism. Let’s take a look at the numbers. According to the Healthy Enterprises Group, for every dollar invested in health and wellness initiatives, companies get a return ranging from $1.50 to $3.80. Meanwhile, a Leger survey conducted in January 2019 for Concilivi found that companies that have the family-work balance seal of recognition enjoy a competitive advantage, when supported by a formal process recognized for its sound management practices in the workplace.

The costs associated with a high employee turnover rate, absenteeism and non-productivity are higher than most people realize. That is why it makes sense for companies to adopt a health and wellness program. In fact, there is a tool on the Ordre des conseillers en ressources humaines website that lets you calculate the cost of personnel turnover.

Implementing a workplace health and wellness program

Since piecemeal measures aren’t likely to have a big impact on workers, the benefits for your organization will also be marginal. Instead, you’re better off with a comprehensive approach to wellness in the workplace.

A comprehensive approach

Implementing a comprehensive workplace health and wellness isn’t the sole responsibility of the HR manager or the OHS committee. To be successful, the general management of the business or organization and entire management team have to get behind the initiative. Ideally, the program should be included in the company’s strategic plan and considered a short- and long-term business objective.

Our firm has created a Workplace Health and Wellness (WHW) approach for businesses and organizations in all industries. Here is what is involved.

1. Appoint project leaders

Start by identifying a process owner to organize your initiatives. The process owner leads WHW Committee meetings, defines training needs for committee members, coordinates health and wellness activities, and performs follow-ups as needed.

Then appoint a management liaison. In addition to supporting the process owner, they will promote the initiative to the management team, mobilize the managers who have a key role to play and obtain approvals for the various initiatives.

Finally, set up an in-house WHW Committee tasked with selecting and implementing the program initiatives, while taking into account staff suggestions, available resources and the company’s priorities.

2. Conduct a survey

The purpose of the survey is to determine what improvements are needed to support employee wellbeing. The results will give your team a better understanding of your employees’ concerns and guide the company’s subsequent actions. The survey should cover four key topics that are known to have a positive impact on workplace health and wellness.

  • Lifestyle habits and stress management;
  • Work-life balance;
  • Management practices;
  • Work environment.

3. Analyze the results and develop an action plan

You may want to get help from an external firm for this step. A reliable partner will be able to provide you with an objective, efficient and confidential analysis of the survey results. The findings will let you see which health and quality of life at work issues are most important to your employees. Then you will be able to establish clear objectives and develop an action plan to meet your team’s actual needs.

Introducing a cost-effective WHW program

According to a Concilivi study, 77% of organizations have managed to implement work-family life balance measures at low or no cost. Here are some things you can do that don’t require a big investment:

  • Offer flexible or reduced hours when a single parent has their children;
  • Develop a policy on managing the quality of life at work and teleworking;
  • Allow employees to trade shifts to accommodate family needs;
  • Allow staff to work remotely whenever possible;
  • Allow employees to rearrange their schedule when kids are off school for in-service days or during snowstorms;
  • Let employees make up their hours if they need to take time off work and if their job doesn’t allow them to work from home;
  • Allow employees to split their vacation days so they can take days off at the same time as their family;
  • Distribute brochures of local resources for parents of teenagers;
  • Offer flexible schedules to employees who are natural caregivers;
  • Set up an Employee Assistance Program offering assistance with personal issues, support for those with physical/mental health problems, and access to telephone consultations with legal, financial and mental health professionals, etc;
  • Assess the possibility of offering telemedicine services to employees (verify with group insurance plans).

If your workplace health and wellness program is well-designed and tailored to your company’s actual needs, it is sure to have a positive impact on your employees’ state of mind. This in turn will benefit your organization and employer brand. Our advisers can help you get started with a WHW program or strengthen your corporate wellness culture.

We have developed a comprehensive WHW program for businesses of all sizes and across all industries. Our firm is recognized as a provider, ambassador and member of the Healthy Enterprise movement. If you’d like to implement a WHW program for your organization, we have coaches who can guide you. Please contact us if you have any questions.

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