Work-life balance: Helpful measures for companies

Busy schedules, long working hours and stress - everyday life for many employees. Despite progressive digitization and efficient tools, the work does not seem to be getting less, but rather intensifying. Employees are repeatedly advised to create space and balance during their free time. More than ever, however, companies are now required to establish measures for an improved work-life balance and to create a long-term concept. In this article by pusatinfoloker you will find out what special measures can look like with which you can maintain your work-life balance.

Definition and meaning of work-life balance

Work-life balance describes the balance between work and private life or family. A synonym of work-life balance is the compatibility of these worlds in order to live a balanced, happy and healthy life. In recent years, the awareness of a healthy work-life balance has increased. It is not only of great relevance for the health and satisfaction of employees , but also plays an important role for companies. If your employees suffer from stress as a result of a bad work-life balance and even get sick as a result, the company ultimately has to struggle with it too.

Origin and history of the term

The term work-life balance was originally intended to refer to the compatibility of work and private life for working mothers . Over time, in view of longer working hours and changing family structures , the concept was applied to both sexes. In addition, there were increasing cases of mental illness due to overwork, which brought the need for work-life balance measures to the fore in Germany in the 1990s.

Benefits of work-life balance measures for companies

In view of the social context, measures for a work-life balance are therefore not a luxury but a necessity . If you have already hired your own employees or are planning to do so in the near future, you should not ignore this aspect. Companies committed to a healthy work-life balance reap significant benefits:

  • Motivation and productivity : If people feel valued at their workplace and can pursue their private needs, they work more motivated and productive . A company then benefits from better results and increased growth.
  • Employee retention : An improvement in the work-life balance leads to more satisfaction among employees and reduces employee fluctuation in a company in the long term. If they are given a good work-life balance, they have less reason to leave the company.
  • Cost savings : A company saves costs due to the reduced fluctuation . The situation here is similar to marketing: Acquiring and hiring new employees is more expensive than retaining the existing ones. After all, companies also save because there are fewer sick days and long-term absences.
  • Improving your image : Word quickly gets around about which companies create an attractive working environment . Young talents and experienced executives can be addressed with work-life balance measures and promoted for the company . 

The Working Hours Act creates a legal basis for work-life balance 
A basis for work-life balance is laid, among other things, in the Working Hours Act (ArbZG). This regulates, for example, that employees are generally not allowed to work more than eight hours . The working hours may only be extended to ten hours if compensation is made promptly within the following six months.

How can measures for work-life balance in the company look like?

There are numerous measures to improve the work-life balance . Of course, not all tips for work-life balance measures can be implemented in every company - circumstances can vary depending on the industry and size . We have collected some examples of how work-life balance can be lived in large companies and small start-ups and how the burden can be gradually minimized : 

  • Home office or mobile work : As a founder, you will probably have already worked in the home office yourself or will continue to do so at the moment. Working from home or from anywhere in the world is becoming increasingly popular and efficient thanks to online appointments and optimized communication and work tools. The corona pandemic has also promoted working from home or even from abroad. Working from home is extremely important for the work-life balance, as this measure allows employees to organize their free time and private appointments more flexibly and save them the daily trip to the company. Also, when working from home, remember to schedule breaks, so that you can continue working with more concentration afterwards.
  • Flexible working hours : In most cases, flexible working hours are already made possible by home office or mobile work. But employers can also establish so-called flexitime for the office itself, so that employees can better manage their commutes or childcare .
  • Internal childcare : For a young start-up, internal childcare is certainly still too expensive - but recommended for an established company. This gives employees the chance to combine their family life with their job more easily and to reduce the stress level. As a measure, this contributes to the work-life balance as well as employee motivation and loyalty.
  • Leisure activities : Attractive benefits such as health days or membership in the fitness studio help employees not to neglect their well-being outside of work.
  • Mental health : Mental health has become a concept for more and more people in recent years: either because they have health problems or have heard about it on the internet and in their social environment. Companies could offer their employees courses on topics such as stress management, time management or mindfulness , all of which contribute to mental health. Psychological counseling or education and breaking taboos also belong in the middle of society.
  • Space for relaxation and variety : weekly massages, soccer games or ball pools - co-working spaces in particular are known for their unusual methods of relaxation and promoting creativity . It helps immensely to create such free spaces and areas in the office to clear your head as a founder or employee and to draw new inspiration.
  • Team events : Joint team events promote togetherness at work and belonging to the company . At the same time, they bring a leisure component into everyday working life and convey a feeling of lightness.
  • Sabbaticals : Every year, more and more employees are interested in taking a sabbatical. They like to use them to travel the world, to pursue further education or to recharge their batteries . Companies that enable a sabbatical as a work-life balance measure usually give their employees three to twelve months to do so.

European Council directive on work-life balance 
Although there is no official law for work-life balance, the European Council published the Work-Life Balance Directive in June 2019 . The goals relate, among other things, to equal opportunities for men and women and the promotion of flexibility in working life.

Challenges of work-life balance measures?

In order to ensure the health and satisfaction as well as the motivation and productivity of your employees and yourself in the long term, work-life balance measures are a must . In order to deal with the topic successfully and sustainably, you don't have to follow all the tips right away - it's best to discuss with your team which steps suit your company and what you can implement quickly and efficiently.

At the same time, the question arises as to the challenges involved in establishing and applying a work-life balance. This applies equally to employers and employees: 

  • Lack of time management : Poor time management can have a massive impact on work-life balance. Many people report that they get lost in countless tasks and hardly find any time for free time . It often helps to arrange tasks in a structured to-do list and prioritize them according to relevance - otherwise you won't see the forest for the trees.
  • Executives : Employers must establish work-life balance and the necessary understanding of it at the management level. Managers should not put strong pressure on their employees to perform and should not neglect praise and recognition.
  • Strict target setting : In particular, start-ups and young companies that have to meet the expectations of their investors and are goal- and time-bound might put work-life balance measures on the back burner for the time being.
  • Limited budget : Measures such as internal childcare involve costs that many young companies cannot afford. But instead of focusing on problems and not on measures that can be implemented, you should invest your energy in cheap and quickly implementable ideas: for example home office, flexible working hours and team events.
  • Spatial separation of work and private life : It is often difficult to separate work and leisure time in the home office - especially if there is no physical separation through a separate office in your own four walls.
  • War for Talents : More and more companies and start-ups are integrating various work-life balance measures into their everyday work and use this not least to be more attractive to new applicants because they want to find good employees . One challenge this creates is that they are in constant competition with other companies in this regard .
  • Increasing individualization : The increasing individualization of society is a positive development that gives people the freedom to develop and pursue their own needs. However, this also creates the challenge for companies to put together the right work-life balance measures for all employees : topics such as family, travel and further training have a different status depending on the person.