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It is fair to say that the modern workplace is facing multiple challenges. Despite many accelerated post-pandemic benefits such as remote working and investment in automation technology, some businesses are contending with staff burnout, anxiety and overload which feed into an uncertainty around workplace performance and functionality.
Staying motivated is essential for getting through what may be tricky times ahead. However, achieving this at the same time as maintaining work-life balance is even more important.
In 2021, research published in Human Resource Development International found that the pandemic left us with a range of confused feelings about work-life balance. The shifts in work and non-work patterns have influenced employees’ work-family balance, which, in turn, have affected employees’ adjustment to and satisfaction with remote work.
Take a break
One solution to the work-life balance challenge is to develop a culture that prioritizes ‘healthy’ separation. This might mean actively encouraging employees to block their work communications outside of work hours, such as encouraging colleagues to take proper breaks and not respond to emails at the weekend or during holidays.
However, this approach is not always achievable, and critical to implementing good work-life balance is understanding what works best for you and your team. Research from the University of Sussex suggests that blanket bans on out-of-hours communication can be actively harmful to some employees, particularly those with anxiety or control issues.
Some people use work email to manage their tasks and work flexibly and conveniently, while others find it disruptive to their workflow. Understanding how and when your team use email is important, but email policy is also governed by your corporate culture. In striking a balance between organizational need and employee preference, flexible consultation is key.
The pandemic has demonstrated that in some working environments there may not always be a pressing need to be in the office every day. Scrapping core hours can mean less time wasted on the daily commute and, ultimately, a smarter way of working. Meeting client needs and building client relationships are essential and a Harvard Business Review study found that flexibility impacts the bottom line by encouraging employees to be more results-driven.
There are also talent-attraction benefits to be gained by offering a more adaptable approach as many job seekers are demanding more flexibility post-pandemic.
All on the same team
However, getting the balance right between looking out for employees’ well-being and recognizing work-life balance, while also ensuring they remain connected to the organization and its services are valued by clients is an ongoing challenge. As a network, UHY embraces enthusiasm, integrity and teamwork, and offering opportunities for collaboration is central to maintaining these values.
Research shows that collaborative teams are more innovative so fostering connectivity is another key way to keep employees engaged. UHY’s internal collaboration channels offer multiple ways of sharing best practice and accessing wider knowledge.
Whatever your approach, significant challenges – and opportunities – lie ahead. Work-life balance and team engagement are both important.