Find out how to establish a work-life balance that brings out the best in you and your employees.
The coronavirus pandemic means many of us are having to work from home, although even before lockdown more and more companies were embracing the idea of remote working.
While ditching the daily commute for a walk to the kitchen table might be a welcome change for some, it also brings plenty of challenges.
Is home working your employee’s dream, or waking nightmare?
Every employee is different – some may thrive while others may find it more of a struggle.
By making sure all your team have a work-life balance that suits them, you as their manager can help offset many of the logistical and emotional challenges of home working.
1. Be flexible
If you have a team working remotely, then you need to be flexible. Employees who have to work from home will need to juggle other demands, including homeschooling or even having to care for elderly or vulnerable relatives.
This means you need to trust your employees to manage how and when they work. Pre- and post-pandemic employees will feel valued if they know they can work at home in order to fit in a GP appointment or an important delivery.
2. Productivity versus hours
Encourage the completion of projects rather than counting how many hours your team is working. This will help give your team a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. This, in turn, helps employees to switch off at the end of the day. Having these kind of task-centred deadlines also gives your team a chance to take some mental time out when they finish projects. This way, they’ll then be happier to put in longer days to get certain jobs done if they know they can get the occasional day to ease up.
Encourage team members to use these lighter days to concentrate on less mentally consuming tasks, such as basic admin.
3. Take a break
This is easier said than done when working remotely. If you notice some team members are working long hours, consider using break-out rooms, such as those available in Microsoft Teams for a chat or open discussions. This is also a great way of helping colleagues who live on their own to stay connected.
Encourage staff to stay active by checking out Sport England’s Join the Movement campaign.
4. Lead by example
Quite often a team will take its cue from the manager. Team members will feel under pressure to work longer hours if their manager is messaging them at all hours of the day.
So, make sure you’re taking regular breaks too, and avoid sending emails outside of office hours for non-urgent work.
7. Keep an eye on workloads
Stay in regular communication with your team. A weekly Zoom meeting may be able to help identify those in your team who are stressed out and overloaded. Everyone works at a different pace, so what may seem like a day’s work for one team member could be excessive for another, and they may feel pressure to work longer hours than they can manage. Knowing how much your team is doing can also help you decide which team member to ask when you need to allocate or re-allocate work.
8. Give them a break
Make sure your team makes the most of their annual leave. Lockdown and travel restrictions mean the idea of an annual holiday abroad is some way off. But this also means team members may not be taking all of their leave. Keep an eye on leave requests and consider letting employees carry some of that leave over to the next year, within reason.
9. Increase support for parents
Childcare issues have been brought to the fore during the pandemic with schools and nurseries having to close. But even before March 2020, companies had issues recruiting women with children of school age because of their childcare commitments. Fathers too, will often want to be able to spend time with their children.
Some companies are offering “progressive leave”, which allows parents to swap some of their holiday in exchange for helping with childcare. Other post-pandemic options include offering part-time roles or job shares in order to balance your team’s childcare commitments.
9. Use tech to ease the load
Make use of technology that can help your team stay compliant. Trailblazer has been specifically designed for UK-based financial advisers, from individual advisers to larger organisations and networks. Trailblazer has a range of flexible features to help advisers manage regular client contacts, compliance and CPD. Trailblazer’s app allows your team to record information in real-time from anywhere and it can be updated back in the office via the desktop client management system.
10. Everyone is different
While, of course, many employees may want to improve their work-life balance, other team members may be perfectly happy with their set-up. Some staff may not mind working longer hours, provided they get a few days where the pressure is off. Some may want to start working earlier and so finish earlier.
There is no “one size fits all” when it comes to work-life balance – your challenge is to help your team find theirs.
If you need help with your compliance, we’re here to help. Contact us to request a Trailblazer demo and a free trial.