If you have happy and content employees they will be more motivated and less stressed. Helping your staff to maintain a good work-life balance will greatly benefit them personally but it will also help your business as well.

Research shows that employers who value their staff's health and happiness see better staff retention and also attract the best talent. So how do you go about helping your staff maintain a healthy work-life balance?

Provide guidance and structure

How employees and managers view a good work-life balance may differ. It is therefore helpful to communicate to your staff what you deem to be a healthy work-life balance, and it can be helpful to do this in a very structural way so your employees know exactly what is and what isn't expected from them.

It may be that the business imposes a cap on the number of hours that all employees (including senior managers) work each week, or it may be that you restrict your staff to only accessing emails during the core business hours. Whatever the "rules" be clear in highlighting how this structure is there to protect and preserve each employee's work-life balance so that when they work, they work, and when they don't, they are taking effective and productive breaks.

Your employees are more likely to work within this framework if they see senior management doing it as well. So, it is important that the entire business works towards the same goals.

Show an interest

Sometimes when people are at work they feel that they have to leave the rest of their life - their family, friends, hobbies and interests - outside the door. They may feel that their home life can't "overlap" with their work life because that would perhaps make it seem they aren't fully committed to their job. Working this way can affect employee engagement and productivity. As a manager, it can really show another level of respect and trust if you acknowledge that your employees have other commitments and responsibilities, and that you are accommodating to this. You will almost certainly be rewarded by a more productive and loyal staff.

Not everybody will want to, but many employees will enjoy talking about their personal lives with their colleagues and managers, and doing so will help them feel they have a better balance of the two things.

Prioritise exercise

Doctors recommend that each adult should do a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day. You can help your employees reach this target by providing them with access to fitness facilities or encouraging them to go for walks or runs during their breaks.

Some office blocks have gym facilities on-site, if yours does, encourage your staff to use it during their lunch break or after work. If your office doesn’t have this facility on-site you could consider giving your employees subsidised gym membership for a local centre. You may find a local gym is happy to offer you and your staff a discount.

Fitness is also a fantastic way to create team unity. You could set up an office football group (or other team sport) and hold tournaments with other businesses in the local area.

Encourage time-off

It may surprise you but research has shown that a third of workers don’t use all their holiday entitlement. Encouraging your employees to take regular time off is good for the business as people who regularly take time off are more relaxed, less stressed and are more focused. This, in turn, increases their productivity, work place morale and because of this they tend to take less sick days.

To encourage your employees to take time off you could send out friendly personal reminders every quarter detailing how much holiday entitlement they have left, and be sure to discuss it regularly in one-to-ones or even casual catch-ups you have with staff; showing a positive interest in them taking time off shows you care about their work-life balance.

Be flexible and family-friendly

If it meets the business’ objective and doesn’t impact on output, creating a family-friendly work environment will benefit both your employees and the business. If you can, allow employees to bring their children into work for short periods of time, or alternatively, look into having on-site childcare, or at the least rooms for new mothers to pump breast milk. Even small things will impress your staff. For example, your employees will be appreciative of the fact that you offer flexibility on start or finish times or that you allow them to leave early to go and see their children in a school play, for instance.

Businesses that offer such policies see a higher than average performance from their staff.

About the author

Emma Saldanha is a content creator here at Findmyshift. Emma has more than 10 years experience in content creation, marketing and PR. In between writing for Findmyshift, Emma writes marketing and branding advice for small to medium business on her blog, writtenbyems. Connect with Emma on Twitter and Facebook.