Striking the Perfect Work-Life Balance

Striking the Perfect Work-Life Balance

Work-life balance is like a team sport, with both employers and employees needing to work together in order to win. While employees are always looking for improvements, some things are beyond their control. That's when you, the employer, jump in. From putting their wellness first to fine-tuning your policies, let's talk about how you can make work-life balance a top priority in your workplace – and why it matters. 
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Why work-life balance matters to you as an employer

As an employer who genuinely cares about your team, keeping work-life balance on your radar is essential. Aviva showed that 41% of workers were drawn to their current roles by the promise of work-life balance, even more so than salary. Randstad backs this up, noting that work-life balance tops the list of considerations for 65% of job seekers, even outranking salary, job security and other factors.

Prioritizing work-life balance in your workplace does more than just keep your current team happy – it can also make your business more attractive to potential new hires. Who wouldn't want that?

Employees who feel better perform better. Research from the University of Oxford reveals that job satisfaction can ramp up productivity by 13% without the need for extra working hours. So, focusing on your team's well-being isn't just beneficial for them: it's a smart move for the business.  

Here at Loop, our HR team closely monitors employee well-being. Bas Moeyaert, our People Manager, likens our employees to elastic bands: "Stretch them too far without a break, and they'll snap. It's our job to ensure we're stretching without breaking, allowing for growth without pushing into burnout." 

But what steps can we take to enhance work-life balance for our team?

Embrace flexible working

Offering flexibility is a huge win. Every employee has unique preferences for where and when they work. Some may thrive on the quiet of the early morning, while others hit their stride in the evening. Life outside of work, whether it involves parenting, hobbies or other responsibilities, often requires a flexible work schedule.

Giving your team flexibility means they're more likely to show the same when the business needs it. As Bas puts it, "At work, as in life, you get what you give. Offering flexibility makesemployees often more willing to go the extra mile for their company." This approach involves trusting your team to manage their time and work location in a way that benefits both them and the business.

Flexibility boils down to two key aspects: letting your teamwork in a way that suits them best. And trusting them to decide when they work. 

Finding the right working model

According to the University of Strathclyde, more than three-quarters of employees prefer being in the office just a couple of days a week.

Yet, hybrid or remote work isn't everyone's cup of tea. For instance, younger workers, like millennials and Gen Z, sometimes find these arrangements make it trickier to bond with teammates or seek out mentors, as highlighted by Deloitte's research.  

Every business is unique, and not all solutions will work for all. Find out what your team prefers and come up with a solution that works for everyone.

Empower your employees to choose their hours

Flexibility isn't just about location; it's also about timing. Between personal projects, family commitments and individual work-hour preferences, most team members value the ability to fit work into their lives, not vice versa.

What really resonates with employees and job seekers alike is trust. Whether their prime productivity hours are the traditional 9-5, later in the day or even the early morning hours, they value the flexibility and trust to work in a way that suits them.

However, a lack of trust can have a huge impact on mental health, engagement and a good work-life balance. The 'Trust in the Modern Workplace' study by the Workforce Institute shows a stark drop in productivity among employees who feel mistrusted, with 68% reporting a decrease in their work output under such conditions

Revamp your vacation policy

Did you know the average American only gets 11 days of paid time off yearly? Crazy right? In the US, businesses have no legal requirement to provide paid leave.

And yet, vacations are crucial for our mental well-being. A study fromthe American Psychological Association shows that taking time away from work significantly reduces stress. It's about stepping away from those stress-inducing environments.

Around 86% of Americans wish they had more paid time off, with a quarter wanting unlimited PTO. So, increasing vacation allowances seems like a no-brainer, right?

Offering more vacation time isn't ground-breaking, but it's proven to enhance work-life balance significantly. However, the effectiveness hinges on whether employees actually utilize their PTO.

Though we're all aware of the importance of taking breaks, Americans still don't use all their vacation days. A 2022 survey by Eagle Hill Consulting revealed that 42% hadn't taken a vacation in the last year, citing reasons such as too much work, no backup, fear of being perceived as not committed or concerns they wouldn't be able to relax.

Encourage your employees to make the most of their PTO. You could integrate it into performance reviews, send monthly updates on remaining vacation days or even consider the introduction of unlimited PTO.

Enhance paid leave options

Life isn't just about work. Beyond vacations, employees need paid time off for personal matters, such as maternity, paternity and bereavement leave. A comprehensive leave package supports your employees through life's major events, contributing to a positive work-life balance. This way, you'll be seen as an employer who cares about their team.

Review your benefits

Do you have any special perks for your team? Maybe it's time to revamp your benefits package. According to a Perkbox study, there's a clear wishlist from employees on what they'd like their employers to offer. Employee discounts, more recognition for efforts and more vacation time are top of the list.

But it's not just about the tangibleperks. Emotional well-being and mental health support are big on the agenda, too. For the 25-34 age group, 41%would likemental health days off. And 34% of 18–24-year-olds would appreciate free counseling sessions.

This points to a growing trend: employees are looking for more than just a paycheck. They're seeking a work-life balance that actually fits theirlifestyle and expect their employers to step up to make it happen.

Lead by example

Actions speak louder than words. It sets an example if your leadership team is about the grind, never taking a break or disconnecting. Show your team that it's okay – in fact, it's encouraged – to take time for themselves. As Bas from Loop explains:

"Flexibility begets flexibility. As HR professionals, we must lead by example and provide employees with the work-life balance they need to thrive."

So, no more checking those emails by the pool!

Optimize the workspace

Offices are bustling with activity – chatter, machines and all sorts of distracting sounds. While this buzz energizes some, it can distract others, making concentrating difficult. Struggling to focus at work might lead to taking tasks home, resulting in extended work hours and a tilted work-life balance.

Employers must empower their teams by adapting to their preferred working styles. Here are a few strategies to consider for a more accommodating workplace: 

  • Creating quiet zones, like private spaces or areas designated as 'no phone calls,' offering a sanctuary for those in search of silence 
  • Providing earplugs, which can dial down the background noise by up to 24 decibels, helping employees stay focused
  • Relocating noisy machinery, such as printers, to a separate area to minimize their auditory impact. 
  • Installing dividers in open-plan offices offers a bit of privacy. 
  • Looking into sound-absorbing acoustic panels placed around the office to mute the noise.

Allow employees to set their own boundaries

Encouraging your employees to establish their own boundaries is crucial, especially when it comes to their comfort levels. People who have anxiety, ADHD or misophonia, often have to deal with extra layers of challenges in the workplace. They might find themselves constantly navigating a sea of sensory inputs that can be overwhelming, distracting and even distressing. 


Whether offering noise-reducing earplugs, flexible seating options or the ability to work in quieter spaces, accommodating these small changes can empower your team to manage their surroundings effectively. Creating a workspace that acknowledges and adapts to these boundaries isn't just about productivity; it's about creating an inclusive environment where everyone feels supported, which can drastically improve their work-life balance.  

Encourage regular breaks

Never underestimate the power of stepping away from the desk. Regular breaks are vital for mental health, whether a quick walk, a lunch break outside or a midday fitness class. Why not send out a survey and see what your employees would like? 

Ask your team

Asking your team what work-life balance problems they face can be extremely beneficial. As Bas from Loop highlights:

"Balance is unique to every workplace. Find what works for your team and work it out together for a thriving work-life harmony."

How about we start doing regular surveys to really understand what our team thinks about their work-life balance? We can also find out what kind of solutions they'd prefer.

Or even consider forming employee groups to brainstorm ideas for improvement, ensuring their voices are heard in decision-making processes. You can make a difference in their lives by actively involving employees in the conversation and implementing their suggestions.

Check in regularly with employees

Empower your employees to set their own boundaries and rules. This can include setting working hours for emails, blocking out 'no meeting' times or signalling 'do not disturb' periods.

Encourage a culture where saying "no" to tasks is acceptable when the workload is overwhelming. Consider offering assertiveness and time management training to help employees advocate for themselves effectively. Employees can reduce stress and achieve a better work-life balance by feeling more in control of their time.

Promote a supportive work-life balance culture

Work-life balance varies from one employee to the next. But as an employer, you hold the power to strike the perfect work life balance that supports everyone's well-being. From offering more PTO to promoting open dialogue, the path to a healthier, more balanced workplace is paved with empathy, flexibility and mutual respect.

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