Work-life balance has been a battle cry for the millennial generation for half a decade now, and with 75% of the workforce expected to be Millennials by 2025, it’s a cry worth listening to as a means to retain employs and increase company growth.
There are several factors that have weight when it comes to nurturing a positive workplace culture, with motivation and limited stress both being near the top of the list, regardless of generation. With the aforementioned Millennial statistic in mind, however, they are even more important as the workforce shifts generations, and another thing Millennials look for is a leader they can relate to. Creating your own work-life balance as a manager will make it easier to mold one for your employees and serve as a confirmation that the work-life balance is, indeed, a key part of your company culture.
For most businesses, gone are the days when the bosses were the bosses and the employees were the employees. When the younger generations think of effective leadership, they think of someone they can relate to, someone who is flexible, and someone who they can have a strong relationship with, even outside of work. “Work” is, of course, part of that balance and certainly part of why someone gets a management position, but candor with what is expected from you and understanding of what is needed from your team members is Leadership 101 with the way the workforce is expected to change.
Financial performance also echoes what Millennials feel about a positive company culture, and representing that culture and nurturing a solid work-life balance for both you and your employees will also result in a better bottom line.
Building the Balance
Contrary to what a lot of baby boomers have to say on the internet, Millennials generally have very high work ethics, they just don’t tend to stay with one company for very long, and that is often misperceived as lack in focus or a will to work. It’s just the proverbial “way it is” these days, with it so easy to look for work. Retaining employees, however, is still a money saver, so offering and maintaining a work-life balance for your employees saves the company a lot of training time and money, too.
Work stress is the main factor people feel when the “work” outweighs the “life,” as far as the balance goes. Avoiding work stress is impossible at some jobs, but offering and participating in ways to combat that stress can keep it at bay and keep your employees. Allowing your employees to do yoga during the work day, or other forms of stress relief, make those employees feel like they are in control of their stress, thus adding weight to the right side of the work-life balance. Even kids have relaxation techniques proven to help them de-stress, and relieving tension should be encouraged by employers and practiced by everyone.
Be Ready for Change
Though the work ethic claim is a boomer myth regarding Millennials, their will to follow trends is not, especially as more and more time is spent on social media. With that, it’s best to simply focus on your own habits to achieve your work-life balance and sit back and listen and adapt to the habits your employees need to follow in order to achieve the same balance. Being supportive and understanding, in and of itself, is proof that you care about their balances, so rather than make scheduled yoga classes, or “mandatory fun” things like lunch break axe throwing, allow the employees to decide what they need to feel more in control, and negotiate appropriately. With so many ways to make the world smaller thanks to remote work opportunities, allowing employees to try new things like staying at home a couple days per week, or extending maternity “leave” to allow a new mom to be with her new baby longer may seem like you’re setting up for failure, but employees who are happy, stay put, and employees who stay put are almost always better for a given job than someone new and untrained.