By Mike Davis, Head of SME Direct, AXA PPP healthcare
Working in a small business can often be very fast paced and busy. When the business has upcoming deadlines, such as a new client pitch or a presentation, it may be common for members of the team to stay behind after hours in order to meet deadlines.
However, if this situation occurs frequently, it could have a negative impact on your employees’ work-life balance which could be causing them to feel unhappy at work. According to research conducted on behalf of AXA PPP healthcare, 56% of SME employees said that having a work-life balance would make them the most happy at work. Other factors that affect work-life balance, such as having an easy commute and having flexible working hours were also identified as being important to workplace happiness, with 40% and 43% of the vote, respectively. 47% of respondents said that having a poor work-life balance makes them the least happy at work1.
This is also reflected in the fact that 29% of respondents said that having the ability to flex their working hours at the beginning and end of the day is the employee benefit that’s most important to them, with 27% saying that the most important benefit is the ability to work from home1.
How to encourage a positive work-life balance
Ensuring that your team have a positive work-life balance can therefore help to improve overall employee happiness at work, which could be beneficial for productivity. When testing the idea that happy employees work harder, researchers from the University of Warwick found that happiness made people around 12% more productive2. A positive work-life balance can be encouraged by:
- Encouraging your team to make full use of their annual leave allowance and discouraging them from checking their emails while they’re on holiday and at the weekends
- Avoiding emailing your team outside of normal working hours unless it’s absolutely essential. 19% of SME employees in our survey said that the amount of emails they receive has a negative impact on their wellbeing1. If you do have to email your team, you can caveat it by saying that you don’t expect them to reply until they’re back in the office
- Encouraging your team to take their full lunch break and to use it as an opportunity to get outside rather than eating lunch at their desks
- Creating a break out area in your office can provide employees with a space where they can socialise with other members of the team if they need a break during the working day
- Offering your employees the opportunity to flex their working hours or to work from home when they feel they need or would like to, if your business is able to
An important factor to bear in mind when it comes to employees’ work-life balance is that, as the owner of the business, your team may often look to you when it comes to work-life balance behaviours. If you’re regularly staying in the office until gone 7pm every day and not taking a lunch break, you may find that your team begin to model these types of behaviours too. As such, you could make a point of leaving the office at a reasonable time each day, or going out for a walk at lunchtime and encouraging your team to do the same.
AXA PPP healthcare small business health insurance
At AXA PPP healthcare, we think that the best way for you to get the healthcare cover that's right for your business is to let you build your plan yourself. We have a choice of cover options for you to select from, so you can build a plan that works for you and your team.
Regardless of the cover options that you choose, access to our 24/7 online GP service, [email protected] (provided by Doctor Care Anywhere, is included as standard. With [email protected], you and your team can get a 20 minute appointment with a GP online or over the phone - 24/7, 365 days a year. Appointments are subject to availability. Fair usage policy applies.
Sources and references
1Research by onepoll on behalf of AXA PPP healthcare of 1500 employees working for companies of up to 250 people, May 2019
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