Ask your employees what work/ life balance means to them

Achieving a healthy work/ life balance can often feel like an unattainable goal, a constant clash of the employee vs. the organisation. However, what if we’re asking the wrong question. 
What if employers worked together with their employees and asked what does a good work/life balance look like for you and how can we help you to achieve this?
Most of us need to work to fulfil our needs. However, though most complain about their work/life balance, not many people have questioned and discovered what achieving a healthy work/ life balance actually means to them. We’re all different. We all value and need different things to make us feel more relaxed, alert, productive and fulfilled in any given week and still have enough time and energy to do what is important in our lives.
Giving individuals the freedom to adjust their schedule, to bring more ‘life’ into their week, is likely to enable them to be a more effective as a member of the team and organisation, but the change doesn’t need to be big to have a great impact on the individual. For example, one might realise that it will dramatically improve their state of mind, clarity and productivity if they attend 3 yoga classes a week, but this means getting into the office slightly later on those days. So as an organisation you agree that no meetings can be scheduled at those times and everyone around that person must be accommodating and supportive. While someone else may really want to learn the guitar and be feeling resentful at not having time nor energy to do this as the class they want is at 3pm on a Tuesday. Why not allow them to make the time. 
Any change does not need to be disruptive or dramatic to have a tangible improvement on the well-being of the employee. Different organisations will have different limitations and parameters as to how flexible they can be, but even small tailored adjustments would benefit your employees work/ life perception and therefore performance. The biggest breakthroughs will come if employee and employer work together to identify a schedule and then put it into practice, with cooperation and compromise from both sides to find a realistic and respectful solution. With this, tension will ease, the distinction between work and life with blur, work will feel less sacrificial and well-being improved.
When work not only understands that there are other things in their employees life that are important to me too, but proactively supports them to achieve these, work/life balance becomes less of a block to productivity and happiness at work can be improved. 
Is it simply time to just ask and try? 
Written by Emma Masding
Emma comes from a management consulting and media background and is passionate about well-being, philosophies of life and great food. Emma is about to start training as a life and career coach and is combining her interests of applying well-being theories to practical life with a love of writing to blog for Yoke.