The need for productivity is higher than ever. As a result, employees are feeling more pressure to work beyond the end of their workday. Not to mention the fact that many companies are incentivizing this mindset by providing overtime or extra days off. These benefits may appeal to some employees, but overworking employees can hurt your company in the long run. This routine of pushing employees to work past their scheduled hours will lead to a negative work-life balance and, eventually, employee burnout. Ultimately, designating time for employees to mentally and physically disconnect after work hours is not just preferred, it is necessary.
It’s crucial for employees to clearly know when their workdays begin and end. That means management and HR must emphasize the importance of work-life balance. Encouraging workers to mentally sign off after work can provide both personal and professional benefits for both your employees and your company. Here are three advantages of motivating your workers to shut the computer after work and some tips to help.
1—Prevent employee burnout
Employee burnout can occur when employees feel they must always be ‘on.’ It’s the constant pressure to be available to respond to emails, answer outstanding questions, streamline projects — the list goes on. An ‘always-on’ work brain can quickly give way to a nonexistent work-life balance and, even worse, employee burnout.
To lessen employee expectations, managers should ensure non-urgent communication ends when the employee’s workday is over. Schedule emails to be sent during that employee’s daily work hours. Managers can also encourage employees to disconnect after work by requiring their team members to turn off their Slack notifications; this message sets the precedent that any work communication will resume on the employee’s next working day. By communicating these expectations to your employees, this relieves the pressure of feeling overworked and overwhelmed and allows your teams to power down their screens, recharge and center their focus elsewhere, which is crucial in maintaining happy and healthy employees.
2—Build a foundation of respect and loyalty
Respect and loyalty are a two-way street, and it starts with your company building that foundation. To do this, practice how you demonstrate respecting your employees’ boundaries. A manager’s responsibility is to reinforce the idea of employees mentally and physically separating themselves from work. Team members have many more responsibilities, pressures, tasks and needs to complete for themselves daily, such as childcare, home care or even time to work out. Acknowledging that and allowing for “off” time creates a foundation of respect between the employee and management. When employees feel employers respect their time, your company will see a positive return from your team members in terms of respect and loyalty.
When respect and loyalty support a relationship between employer and employee, employees won’t just view their workplace as a source of income but as a community of support and respect, too. This positive environment encourages employees to feel valued as people, both professionally and personally, which will increase employee morale, job satisfaction, employee loyalty and productivity.
3—Reap the benefits of happy employees
To ensure your team is full of happy employees, companies need to create a cocktail consisting of adequate support and satisfaction not only at work but also in their personal lives. When one is satisfied in their personal life, that will translate into success at work, and vice versa. With a workforce of happy employees, your company will reap the benefits of increased productivity, creativity, engagement and overall morale. Providing employees with sufficient time to dedicate to their personal life will supply them with the mental capacity to incorporate those positive components into their work life.
Motivating your employees to mentally and physically log off after their designated work hours will prove to be valuable to not only protecting your team members from burnout but also improving your company, its culture and morale. As managers, it is up to us to enforce a healthy work-life balance that demonstrates respect and loyalty to our employees. All we have to do is encourage closing the computer.
Matt Thomas is the President of Indianapolis-based WorkSmart Systems, Inc., which he founded in 1998. He is active with the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO) and has dedicated more than 20 years to the PEO industry dating back to his early career with industry leaders ADP and NovaCare Employee Services.