The Upside of Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Increases in employee engagement and performance occur through the aligning of the organization’s culture and mission (Katzenbach, Steffen, & Kronley, 2012). This arrangement creates synergies that positively reinforce the firm’s cultural values, beliefs, and behaviors. A healthy high-performance culture leverages the tools and techniques brought about by the technology revolution to experience significantly higher levels of productivity but at the expense of employees work-life balance (Butts, Becker, & Boswell, 2015, p. 763). There is insufficient research that definitively demonstrates negative social, family, and health outcomes related to poor work-life balance (Beauregard & Henry, 2009). However, research does conclude that organizations experience higher levels of productivity when work-life balance is maintained, and employees experience improved levels of satisfaction and lower levels of stress (Beauregard & Henry, 2009). Organizations need to realize the potential upside to their business by ensuring their employees support a healthy work-life balance.
The executive leadership of many companies builds high-performance cultures that significantly value individual and group contributions. These companies focus on hiring the right individuals and expect well above-average levels of productivity and decision-making. Often, initiatives and projects have significant work expectations and demanding timelines. There exists unwillingness to allow for slack or adjustment in any externally communicated schedule because of competitive position or Wall Street reactions. This places a considerable burden on employees to perform while under higher levels of sustained stress. For shorter periods of time, employees can maintain at these output levels. However, over time, the poor work-life balance will lead to employee disengagement, burnout, and reduced productivity (Beauregard, 2014, p. 772).
If organizations fail to enact greater levels of work-life balance, employee burnout and disengagement will continue to increase.
These realities spur increased employee turnover and institutional knowledge loss. Regrettable employee turnover, lost knowledge and relationship disruption leads to lower organizational productivity and innovation. These firms will create the loss of competitive and market positions they wish to avoid by failing to adopt greater levels of employees work-life balance.
When the leadership chooses greater flexibility in employee scheduling, work and project product deliverables, project assignments, restrictions on after-hours communication, and mandatory use of vacation time, the employees should experience improved levels of satisfaction and lower stress. By implementing the needed policy changes and appraisal process while maintaining the current expectations of productivity, a company will continue to meet the needs of its employees and core business aims. Remember, an engaged workforce lowers turnover, increases productivity, and encourages innovation to flourish.