National Work Life Week 2015: How a good work-life balance can boost careers

Last week was ‘National Work Life Week’, an initiative aimed at highlighting the benefits of maintaining a healthy work-life balance in order to keep employees engaged, motivated and productive. It’s been a great opportunity for both employers and employees to take a step back and consider ways in which careers can be boosted by simple changes to create a better balance between personal and professional fulfilment.

It’s also very timely. Research is suggesting that a poor work-life balance is driving employees away. A study by recruitment firm Robert Half UK, published in August 2015, found that one of the top reasons an employee will leave an organisation is a better work-life balance. 

Further to this, recent insights from David Spencer, Professor of Economics and Political Economy, suggest that while working less is presented as a threat to our health and happiness, it should instead be seen as a means to improve it and have a better life. He goes on to argue that working long hours adds to the risk of having a stroke, coronary heart disease and developing type 2 diabetes. Not to mention it can also trigger mental burnout.
At Right Management, we are continuously looking at ways in which organisations can help create fulfilling careers, not just fill jobs. Work-life balance plays a huge part in this. Below, we suggest three ways in which having the correct work-life balance can boost careers.

1. Mind-set: more motivated

Motivation is what pushes employees to excel at work. But, when people are feeling stressed due to personal or professional reasons, they can quickly become de-motivated and disinterested in what the workplace has to offer them. This can have a profound impact on career progression, not to mention morale of close team-members, particularly if someone has line manager responsibilities.

We’ve found that employees who report a better work life balance are more motivated to achieve both personal and organisational goals, and are markedly more resilient in the face of setbacks. 

2. Relationships: more engaged

Ensuring employees remain engaged in the workplace is a massive task for employers. Managers throughout an organisation’s hierarchy need to be closely looking at the quality of work being presented by their teams, examples of exceptional behaviour and illustrations of the company’s values, as well as more subtle indications that quality of work or attention is failing.

As we wrote recently on this blog – this task is nearly impossible when managers feel themselves burnt-out and unsupported in their role. Prioritising a work-life balance is one of the ways employers can make sure their teams are coming into the office refreshed and engaged: not just with their work – but with the work of their colleagues. An engaged workplace is one where fewer details are missed, and stronger relationships are built between workers. 

3. Performance: more productive

Individuals who are more motivated and engaged at work will also be more productive. A study by economists at the University of Warwick earlier this year found that happiness led to a 12% spike in productivity, while unhappy workers proved 10% less productive. 
Work-life is tied very closely to happiness. Each employee is different, but managers should strive to have honest conversations to determine how an employee can strike the balance that maximises happiness and productivity.