Work Life Balance and Employee Wellbeing

Posted in : HR Updates ROI on 9 July 2024
Caroline Reidy
The HR Suite
Issues covered: Work Life Balance; Employee Wellbeing; Policies

Ensuring Wellbeing in the Workplace
As an employer it is important to recognise that throughout our working lives, both employees and employers will encounter varying degrees of stress throughout the course of their employment. This stress can be both internal and external to the Organisation, therefore it is important that employers take action in terms of workplace wellbeing by taking action to help their employees, and in turn paving the way for a happier, more productive workplace.

Duty of Care & Benefits of Employee Wellbeing
The duty of care of employers is reinforced in the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act, 2005. It is of the utmost importance to have a procedure in place to tackle issues around Workplace Wellbeing should the Organisation identify an employee experiencing a high level of stress or showing signs that their wellbeing is being or may in the future be adversely affected.

Improved workplace wellbeing can lead to sustainable improvements for the Organisation, including increased creativity, improved employee loyalty, improved productivity and better over output. In light of this information, many employers are now concentrating on workplace wellbeing initiatives which have shown considerable improvements in the wellbeing of their employees and the overall morale of the Organisation.

Wellbeing is inherent in all workplaces and gives rise to benefits such as retention of healthy, happy, and productive employees, whilst aiding in a decreased rate of illness/injury, reduced absenteeism, increased productivity, and overall employee satisfaction.

  • Awareness & Proactivity: It is important that employers ensure that the expectations on each employee are fair and reasonable. It is best practice to ensure where the Organisation becomes aware of work-related stress issues or observe behaviours of concern regarding an employee’s wellbeing, that immediate action is taken to ascertain the cause and to identify pathways of helping the individual, where possible and appropriate.
  • Policies: Family Friendly Policies, and Work-Life Balance Policies promote, support, and protect employees within an Organisation. An example of this would be a Hybrid Working Policy, which promotes a positive balance and divide between work and life, and in turn will aid in promoting a positive culture.
  • Employee Assistance Programme (EAP): The implementation of an Employee Assistance Programme also known as an EAP promotes the Organisations commitment to ensuring a positive, proactive, and supportive workplace. EAP’s are a low cost to employers and once in place the EAP offers a free and confidential service to all employees, 24 hours a day, 365 days per year.
  • Culture: There is an emphasis on employers to promote an open environment for each of their employees in order for each individual to learn about their own wellbeing and share ideas with their colleagues. Where there is an open-door policy from the Organisations Management Team, and a culture of open communication amongst teams, employees will feel more confident in expressing concerns or struggles they may be facing.

Creating a positive Work-Life Balance should be linked closely to Workplace Wellbeing. Ensuring a healthy Work-Life balance is not only crucial for employee wellbeing and productivity but also in order for the Organisation succeed.

Tips to achieve a Work-Life Balance

  • Clear Boundaries: It is important that the Organisation establish and set out within each employees Contract of Employment the specific start time and end times expected of the employee. Whilst this is important in order to comply with the Organisation of Working Time Act, it is also crucial in preventing from work time spilling into the personal time of employees.
  • Time Management: Through the use of tools such as Outlook Calendar and To-Do Lists, employees can better manage their deadlines efficiently. A visual guide as to what tasks are to be completed also helps an employee communicate to the Organisation should they feel they are facing time constraints.
  • Flexibility: Where possible, it is important that Organisations utilise flexible working options such as Remote Work and Flexible Hours such as varied start and finish times can often ensure that employees can accommodate personal responsibilities and reduce unnecessary stress linked to these personal responsibilities. Organisations who allow their employees to adjust their work schedule to fit their personal life from time to time where necessary such as attending Dental/Medical Appointments encourage a healthy work-life balance for their employees, preventing personal commitments and stresses from compromising work quality.
  • Policies: Ensuring that the Organisation has implemented all policies in line with the Work Life Balance Provisions Act, 2023 and reminding employees of their rights to Leave for Medical Care Purposes, Leave for Victims of Domestic Violence, Right to Request Remote Working for all employees, Right to Request Flexible Working for Parents and Carers, and the two-year entitlement to Breastfeeding Breaks.

Ensuring that employees maintain a healthy work-life balance is critical for both the wellbeing of your team, and also the overall productivity of the Organisation. It is important that employees are encouraged to manage their time effectively and are provided with the tools to do so to ensure a clear separation between work and personal life. A healthy work-life balance enhances the creativity of employees whilst also improving relationships and the quality of life outside of the office.

This article is correct at 09/07/2024
Disclaimer:

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Caroline Reidy
The HR Suite

The main content of this article was provided by Caroline Reidy. Contact telephone number is +353 66 710 2887 / +353 86 775 2064 or email info@thehrsuite.com

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