Small businesses often have a small staff and employees wear several hats at once. Absence due to illness, childcare emergencies or personal issues can present a problem. How can you afford to let a prized employee have extra time off to care for a sick child or reduce hours during a personal crisis?
But research shows that the best workers are those who aren't "all business, all the time." Promoting a balance between life and work obligations at every level of your organization will attract employees, encourage a loyal and happier workforce, and make your business more effective and successful.
To be productive and satisfied, workers need:
- Flexible schedules that accommodate personal interests and family
- Convenient, affordable, high quality child care
- A workplace that allows them to be physically and psychologically healthy.
Help employees find good childcare
Workers need to be confident that their kids are well-cared-for. Reliable childcare – including backup or emergency care – also can reduce absenteeism.
Promote health and wellness
Healthy workers create an effective workforce.
Offer telecommuting or flexible schedules
When employees can skip the commute and work from home some of the time – or alter schedules to meet childcare or other needs – they'll save money and be better able to attend to family and personal matters.
Find out how other companies are dealing with the work-life issue
Attend a seminar or conference to help you incorporate work-life initiatives in your own organization.
Get help from a consultant
Helping your employees balance their lives and careers shouldn't mean a lot of extra work for you.
Use scheduling software that looks at the whole picture
Help employees manage work tasks and guard "off" time with a program that keeps track of it all.
- Don't micromanage. Research shows that companies that offer employees autonomy and team decision-making have a happier and more effective workforce.
- Be flexible. Whenever possible, allow employees to create schedules that fit their own unique needs.
- Provide a comfortable, ventilated and smoke-free break room — and allow employees the opportunity to use it.
- Promote health. Provide frequent fresh-air breaks, organize lunch-hour walks, and serve healthy snacks during long meetings.