By Margaret Hansen
What if you could reduce absenteeism and employee turnover, while improving employee productivity, retention and overall health? Try taking into account more than just your employees at work.
Your employees' lives outside of work need help, too. Specifically, a recent Bright Horizons Family Solutions study [PDF] shows that employees who have access to on-site childcare:
- Experience far less stress
- Show significantly better health
- Are more engaged in their work
- Are less likely to report lost work productivity due to stress
In the same study, respondents without work/life supports offered by their employer were:
- Nearly a third more likely to report being down, depressed or hopeless in the last month
- 62 percent more likely to experience sleep issues that have an impact on their jobs
- Three times as likely to be treated for high blood pressure and diabetes
- Spending 20 percent more time dealing with dependent care issues at work than those with access to work/life supports
Balance Is Key
If hosting a child care facility is not in your budget, you can still turn things around. Start by creating a culture that supports a healthy work-life balance.
A 2005 Simmon's College study [PDF], entitled The New Workforce Reality: Insights for Today, Implications for Tomorrow, shows that employees who placed the same importance on their job as their life outside of work were happier in both arenas. Here's how respondents defined an ideal job situation:
- An organization that respects personal/family time (84 percent)
- Supervisor who is responsive to personal/family concerns (80 percent)
- An organization with good time-off benefits (78 percent)
- An organization with flexible work policies and programs (72 percent)
- Control over my schedule (70 percent)
- Control over how I accomplish tasks (69 percent)
Quoting one male focus group participant: "Companies that recognize that family is a very intricate part of a whole person and respect that, and are flexible enough to give people the opportunity without the penalty, are the ones that at going to have the respect and undying loyalty of the employee."
Don't forget that it's okay to brag about or promote your work culture/employment brand. Offering a wellness program and total compensation reports are two great ways to start.
Juggling family and career is not easy. A work culture that supports a work-life balance will attract and retain highly motivated and productive employees.