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Employees are busier than ever. When they are not at their actual jobs, they are using apps to log into work while eating dinner at home. Factor in their daily lives and activities into the mix, and it’s no surprise that employees are suffering from extreme levels of stress and burnout. More employees are looking for a work/life balance that fits into their lifestyles, as they are turning to you to give them the ideal career position that doesn’t compromise their social schedules.

Yet, as the owner of a small business, you don’t want  to compromise your operations and revenue. With only recently opening up your business to the public, you need to bring in enough sales to get your cash flow manageable and your invoicing in line. This means you need employees available to give their all for the entire time they walk into the business up until they leave.

Striking a work/life balance deal

While you are under no obligation to provide any help to your employees to give them a better work/life balance, taking the initiative and sitting down with your employees over this important issue can be beneficial to all people involved.

Your employees have a chance to understand what they are expected to do at work and how you have their best interests in mind. You can help iron out some difficulties that could be affecting their productivity, as the employees will be able to offer better quality services to customers.

Use the following 5 tips to help manage your employee’s work/life balance issues.

  1. Have an open door policy for communication so employees can talk with you about their work schedules. They will be more forthcoming and honest about their problems as you can sit down with them and try to come to a resolution. They also will be more encouraged to speak with you in advance instead of waiting for the last minute to ask for time off.
  2. Figure out if flexible work schedules are a viable option. You may only need the employee to work 4 days a week, perform certain tasks from their computer at home, or arrive at a later time and work an extra hour later. Creating a flexible schedule and having workers adhere to company polices in regards to this flexible time will still allow you to maintain productivity levels.
  3. If there is technology available that allows employees to work better, consider using it. Look over your bookkeeping records in your accounting software and see if the initial costs of implementing apps and BYOD (bring your own device) devices will bring long-term returns to profits. You’ll have to come up with the appropriate polices and device security to protect company data. Yet the benefits may outweigh the initial deployment costs.
  4. Sponsor family events’ activities to bring more of a work/life balance in the workplace. Employees can hone their team building skills and work relationships while having their families enjoy the time together.
  5. You need to realise that employees don’t have to be plugged into the office every single minute. While you want your employees to be dedicated to their job, you can’t expect them to work like robots and put in 60 hours a week, go to every trade show during the weekends, and be available for conference calls in the evenings. Long hours and punishing work schedules will only leave your employees burnt out and searching for a new place to work.

Being understanding about your employees’ outside activities can allow you to strike the proper balance with them so they can stay productive while having free time to themselves. Keep in mind that you are looking build a team and to retain employees for the long haul. You don’t want to have high turnover rates that can affect operations due to unrealistic work schedules.

The work/life balance approach is not just for the big guys. You to, as a small business owner, can learn from the innovators and trend setters in this space and tailor programmes that are suitable to your budget. What’s interesting is that points 1,2 and 5 involve no investment, only dialogue and open channels for communications.

Don’t forget that you have legal responsibilities when taking on a new member of staff. Having your HR processes in order is a priority before your begin looking at the work/life balance approach.

Marc O'Dwyer

After completing a Graduate program in Marketing, Marc’s impressive sales career began at Allied Irish Banks, Pitney Bowes and Panasonic where he received numerous Irish and European sales performance awards and consistently exceeded targets and expectations. In 1992, Marc’s entrepreneurial spirit led him to set up his own business, Irish International Sales (IIS). Initially, this company was a reseller for Take 5 Accounts and Payroll software. Within four years, IIS became the largest reseller of Take 5 in Ireland, acquiring four other Take 5 resellers. He also found time to set up two mobile phone shops under the Cellular World brand and a web design company offering website design services for small businesses. In 2001, he bought the majority share in a small Irish software business, Big Red Book. At that time, the company was losing money. The company became profitable within two months, and Marc then acquired a payroll company to compliment Big Red Books Accounting products. In 2003, IIS were appointed as Channel Partners with SAP for their new SME product, SAP Business One. Marc sold his Take 5 business and concentrated on developing this new market for SAP As a result, by 2007, IIS was recognised as the largest Channel Partner for SAP in EMEA (Europe Middle East and Africa). In 2008, the IIS Sales Manager bought the Company from Marc in an MBO. He launched Big red cloud in June 2012, the online version of big red book, to date the company successfully converts 59% of trials into sales and the number of customers is growing rapidly. Marc continues to run both Big Red Book and Big Red Cloud which now support 75,000 businesses. He is a very keen sportsman, having played rugby for 20 years, represented Leinster at under 16 and under 20 levels, and league squash with Fitzwilliam Lawn Tennis Club for 10 years. Marc has competed in 11 Marathons, including the London and Boston Marathons, and has completed several Triathlons and Half Ironman races. He has also completed six Ironman Races in Austria(x2), Frankfurt (Germany), Nice (France) , Mallorca (Spain) and Copenhagen (Denmark)

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