A year ago, small businesses were focused on how to build on current trends, remain compliant, and generally improve their game in the upcoming year. Just twelve short months — and one pandemic — later, the entire professional landscape has changed.
One of the biggest adjustments that 2020 has brought along with it was a shift to more remote work. Another major workplace modification came in the form of prioritizing hygiene and sanitation in offices, shops, and storefronts.
With employees doing their level best to adapt to so much change this year, employers need to encourage their staff to maintain a healthy work-life balance as the holiday season plays out. As an employer, keep these tips in mind throughout this final stage of 2020.
Maintain Healthy Communication
Communication has been essential over the past year as teams have increasingly operated from home. While good communication starts with setting up tools like Slack and Zoom, though, it goes much further than that.
Healthy workplace communication also requires active listening and undivided attention from bosses and employees alike. This doesn’t just help you accomplish tasks and keep everyone on the same page, it also provides opportunities for your staff to discuss the concept of work-life balance. If you have healthy lines of communication open, you can do two things:
- Directly and effectively encourage your employees to unplug from their work throughout the week.
- Request feedback from employees regarding how well they’re maintaining their work-life balance and what you can do to help them.
Regardless of the specific tactics that you use, if you want to promote work-life balance over the holiday seasons, it starts with proper communication.
Empower Your Employees
With so many employees working from home, it can be tempting to constantly micromanage things from a distance. However, if you’re able to maintain those healthy communication channels, you shouldn’t need to constantly watch over your employees’ shoulders.
On the contrary, do your best to empower your employees to take their work into their own hands. By encouraging a sense of togetherness and group effort, you can cultivate things like responsibility, efficiency, and a culture of trust. This isn’t just good for the overall productivity of your company. It also enables employees to proactively take their work-life balance into their own hands. They can feel equally empowered to tap out, destress, and enjoy their personal lives after finishing a productive day at work.
Recommend Regular Breaks
The holidays can be a stressful time. If you want to help your staff address the stress (and avoid bringing it into the workplace), encourage them to take regular breaks throughout each day. This doesn’t mean they need to stop their workday in the middle of the afternoon or take a three-hour lunch, though.
Consider recommending that your employees schedule regular times into their day where they step away from their work for even just a few minutes. They can use this time to:
- Stretch and focus on something other than work (i.e. not a computer screen).
- Run through a quick “deskercise” routine.
- Unwind with some meditation or yoga right at their desks.
By encouraging regular breaks, you can help your staff to keep their emotions in check and their work and personal lives balanced.
If your employees are struggling with their work-life balance, however, recommend that they take some time to exercise regularly. Exercise isn’t just good for your physical health. It also pumps up your endorphins and helps to fight stress, according to Mayo Clinic.
Exercise doesn’t have to be long or intensive. Simply taking a walk or going for a bike ride can be a great way to physically challenge your body. The important thing is to encourage your employees to get up and move around.
Without moving around, employees can risk their health. After all, sitting is the new smoking. Prolonged periods of time sitting at a desk can impact everything from your insulin effectiveness to your vein health. Providing an environment where your employees feel that they can access exercise when they need it is a great way to restore a sense of health and balance to their lives, especially over the busy holiday season.
Focus on Mother Nature
The outdoors is another effective tool in the battle for work-life balance. Time spent in Mother Nature provides a host of different physical and mental benefits, such as improving sleep, boosting the immune system, reducing stress, and elevating one’s mood. These are all excellent benefits to tap into during the oft-overwhelming end of the year.
With that in mind, make sure your workforce can take their breaks and conduct their exercise routines outdoors if they want to. Even if they live in a cold-weather climate, a short, brisk walk outside or a few minutes spent breaking in the fresh air can do wonders in both maintaining mental health and increasing productivity.
Helping Your Employees Find Some Holiday Work-Life Balance
At the end of the day, it’s up to your employees to maintain balance in their work and personal lives. However, as their boss, you must do everything you can to facilitate that journey. As an employer, you can encourage breaks, exercise, and outdoor time; all of which can benefit your staff as they navigate the busy days ahead.