Flexibility ~ The Key to Happy, Productive Employees

Employees that are as excited about work as the Seven Dwarfs were (whistles and skips included), might be too high of an expectation. It could happen, with a cup or two of coffee, but it’s not likely. Fortunately, what bosses want in an employee is simple: strong work ethics, desire to perform well, ability to work with others and alone, and the necessary skills to get the job done. When these people come along, you want to hold on to them. Part of that is, aside from a full coffee pot, understanding and respecting their need for a work-life balance. Not only will it help retain those valuable employees, it increases productivity.

Happy employees are more likely to perform at top levels than those who struggle with maintaining work and life responsibilities, as well as enjoyable downtime. Abused keyboards, fading interest, and valuable company time lost to day dreaming, could all be signs of an unbalance work-life relationship. According to a 2014 report by the Council of Economic Advisers, 52% of workers believe their work performance would improve if they had a more flexible schedule. The same report says 49% of parents have passed on jobs because they saw as a conflict with their family responsibilities.

These statistics show that a healthy balance between work and life means higher productivity and a better likelihood that you will attract and retain employees. As an employer, you want more than just warm bodies; you want happy, efficient people who are not just willing to do a job, but motivated to do a stellar job.

In order to give employees the balance they desire and the balance that will keep them by your side, you can consider several things:

• There is not a singular answer for all employees. Be open to work with individuals based on their unique situations.

• Communicate with your employees. Ask what work-life balance means to them and how they feel about their current balance.

• Recognize the value of individuals as well as their potential value. How likely are they to improve or maintain their level of performance with a little more flexibility?

• Be clear about your expectations. Come to a reasonable agreement that both parties will respect.

• See your employees as a set of human individuals, not simply a cluster of paid workers.

• Scrutinize your own work-life balance, improve upon it if necessary, and use it as motivation and inspiration.

• Get help. Invest in and implement a training program for managerial staff that guides them in handling employees’ needs for a work-life balance.

The bottom line is this: flexibility with your employees’ work-life balance means keeping good people doing good jobs. A well-greased, smooth moving business machine is the result of many factors, including a satisfied staff at ease with how work meshes with their own personal lives.

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