The U.S. Senate passed a resolution in 2003 declaring October to be National Work and Family Month. That designation was later reaffirmed by both houses of Congress. The purpose of the resolution is to communicate the importance of flexible work policies that are healthier for workers and their families and to celebrate progress in that direction. As a leading provider of mental health services in the Denver area, Community Reach Center knows how important work-life balance can be and what a positive impact the right balance can have on a person’s well-being.
The Many Benefits of Work-Life Balance
When the idea of work-life balance first gained momentum in the U.S. in the 1980s, many employers thought of it simply as people wanting more time away from the office and felt that it was a concept that would only benefit employees and their families. Since that time, however, it has become clear that greater workplace flexibility is good for workers and their employers. Some of the many benefits include:
- Improved health and well-being. People who enjoy a good work-life balance have more time and energy for addressing and maintaining good physical, mental and emotional health.
- Better personal relationships. Having the freedom to organize their work-day in a way that allows them to attend important events they might otherwise have missed improves connectivity with loved ones.
- Increased work productivity. People who are overworked and experiencing burnout are far less productive than those who are rested, refreshed and ready to tackle their objectives.
- Lower stress level, absenteeism and medical costs. Employees who frequently or continually work long hours with minimal opportunity to “disconnect” have higher stress levels, which leads to missing work more frequently and higher medical costs for stress-related ailments.
- Improved brand perception. Employers with policies that respect work-life balance are looked upon more favorably by prospective customers and potential employees.
Ways to Create Better Work-Life Balance
Whether you are an employer considering changes to your work policies or an employee advocating for better work-life balance, here are some ways that better balance can be achieved:
- Flexible work hours. For some employees, a mid-morning start time would be much better than 8 or 9 a.m. due to family commitments. For others, working from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. is ideal. A little flexibility can go a long way toward helping people achieve the right work-home rhythm.
- Working from home. Whether a company allows people to work from home every day, occasionally on an as-needed basis or somewhere in between, having a telework policy can be good for employers and their staff members.
- More time off. Many companies find that when they give employees more time off, there is not the expected drop off in productivity. Instead, the combination of greater focus before scheduled time away and a higher energy level upon return compensates for the decrease in hours worked.
- Defined boundaries. Laptops and smartphones are wonderful things. However, having them can mean that an employee is never truly “away” from the office. Setting clear policies on how and when employees can be contacted outside the standard work-day can help people get more rest and relaxation when they are off the clock.
- Family-friendly work events. There are many ways to combine work time and family time such as allowing employees to bring their families on required working retreats.
Mental Health Services: Getting Help When Life is out of Balance
During National Work and Family Month, or any time that life gets stressful, Community Reach Center, your mental health services provider, can help manage mental health challenges. Learn more about our services at communityreachcenter.org or by calling us at 303-853-3500 Monday through Friday. We have centers in the northside Denver metro area of Adams County including the cities of Thornton, Westminster, Northglenn, Commerce City and Brighton.