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Work/Life Balance Equals Productivity

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As employees, we love work/life programs. As managers, we’re not so sure. We want to believe that things like flextime, telecommuting and on-site day-care centers make for happier, more productive employees but most of us really don’t know if they are making a difference where it counts – on the bottom line.

Before your organization begins a work/life initiative, you should make sure that you need one.

Go to your employees and conduct surveys to determine job satisfaction. Collective effort is more likely to produce a long-term solution that benefits everyone. Measure by looking at turnover, absenteeism and levels of customer satisfaction. The key is determining a set of useful measurements.

If you determine a work/life program is needed, determine the cost of the initiative. An on-site day-care center is easily estimated as well as telecommuting if you supply equipment for the home office. Set a time frame for testing your initiative and when returning to check the progress, check your measurements on increased productivity and lower absenteeism.

Research shows that employees regard the ability to balance their personal and work lives as a top priority. As companies recognize a link between work/life balance and employee retention, they are turning their attention to managers to serve as gatekeepers to work/life programs. Supervisors must actively support these programs and encourage their employees to use then. Employees must have equal access to policies.

To be an effective manager and to have a productive workforce, you really have to look at the diversity among the workforce – their needs, and how these needs can best be met – while still assuring the productivity of the organization. The bottom line is still productivity and managers will always be the ones who hold the key to work/life success.


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