Switching off can be a struggle for many, however, it is important to ensure that we disconnect from work to aid mental wellbeing and focus on our personal lives.
Only 45% of employees feel switching off after work is possible, and the remaining 55% say they feel pressure to respond to work duties outside of working hours. When employees don’t take time away from work, they can experience feelings of being overwhelmed, burnt out, and stressed. This can lead to a knock-on effect in the workplace, such as a negative environment, lack of productivity, and low retention.
Kayleigh Frost, Head of Clinical Services at Health Assured has put together her top tips for maintaining a good work-life balance.
- Lead by example
The number one thing that all employers can do to promote a good work-life balance is to make sure that they prioritise their own well-being and switch off during non-work hours.
Showing that you care for your mental and physical health by switching off will give employees the confidence to do it themselves, in turn creating a positive culture in the workplace.
Fostering a positive work culture that is built on trust and respect through leading by example will allow management to encourage employees to unplug after work. As Gandhi famously said, “An ounce of practice is worth more than tons of preaching.
- Articulate the importance of unplugging
As a leader, you are there to look after your employees. Great leaders communicate, set, and enforce boundaries, so you should use the same structure when thinking about employee wellbeing.
Set up regular meetings or team huddles to articulate the importance of not working after work hours.
Produce health and well-being calendars for all employees to access and signpost to helpful wellbeing advice. Publish articles and weekly newsletters with tips on how to switch off from work.
- Show you care
It’s essential for managers to demonstrate that they care about their employees lives outside the workplace, whether this be asking about their families or simply what they are doing on the weekends. Get to know people on a human level rather than just as an employee.
Recognising hard work is fundamental in a workplace, however, demonstrating that you care about their personal lives will pay dividends when it comes to loyalty and workplace happiness. Create a trusting environment where employees understand the value of switching off during non-work hours and that their manager also sees the value. Remember, if you take care of your employees, then they will take care of your clients.
- Encourage being active
Getting active outside of work is a sure way of ensuring overall good well-being. Physical exercise has been proven to have great mental health benefits, and getting active gives your brain a good chance to switch off. However, more than 27% of adults do not meet WHO’s recommended physical activity levels.
Everyone deserves time to disconnect and focus on themselves. Maintaining good overall health is key to enjoying life, both personal and professional. While not everyone enjoys slogging away in the gym or running marathons in their time off, encourage employees to be active in whatever way they choose. Whether this is going for a walk at lunch time to get time away from the desk, organising inter-team competitions, or offering a gym membership as part of your benefits package, investing in your employees physical and mental health will have a knock-on on effect on workplace happiness and productivity.
All employers should look to lead by example as a trusted manager who actively articulates the importance of disconnecting completely during non-working hours.
Joanne is the editor for Workplace Wellbeing Professional and has a keen interest in promoting the safety and wellbeing of the global workforce. After earning a bachelor's degree in English literature and media studies, she taught English in China and Vietnam for two years. Before joining Work Well Pro, Joanne worked as a marketing coordinator for luxury property, where her responsibilities included blog writing, photography, and video creation.