From encouraging collaboration to working within structured work hours, here are 16 answers to the questions, “How did you achieve work-life balance on your team, and can you share your best tips/strategies so others can achieve similar success?”
- Focus on Collaboration
- Check-in Frequently
- Make Relaxing and Recharging Part of Your Workday
- Ban Work-Related Communication After Hours
- Hire Adequate Staff and Rotate Time Off
- Allow Employees to Have a Say
- Establish Clear and Measurable Goals for Your Team
- Provide Wellness and Mental Health Resources
- Mandate Breaks
- Encourage Employees to Pursue a Hobby
- Structure Hybrid Work Arrangements
- Set a Light on a Timer
- Give Employees Paid Time Off to Reenergize
- Create Task Lists, Review, and Distribute Daily
- Enforce Boundaries
- Formalize Work Hours With Supportive Apps
Focus on Collaboration
Collaboration can have a major impact on your work-life balance. A lack of collaboration can keep all of the stress on one person, while increased collaboration in the workplace will help divide the workload and allow certain team members to take a break without the work piling up behind them.
If you can—and your job allows it—collaboration needs to be a key component in your work-life balance strategy. Instead of being completely alone to work on a specific project, and having no one to fill in when you need a few days away (we all need a vacation), you will carry all of the weight. Instead, if you can find a partner, you will be able to take some time for yourself and get away from work without it being a huge deal.
Kurtis Forster, Sales Representative, Nu-Vista Premiere Realty
I do frequent check-ins with my staff, and I always inquire about their workloads. I ask if they feel like they have a healthy work-life balance, and if the answer is no, we talk about what needs to change in order to achieve it.
Because research proves that stress wreaks havoc on every bodily system, I always strive to lower stress levels, which in turn helps reduce burnout among my team. While we can’t avoid all of life’s stressors, we can work toward creating a lifestyle where balance is a priority.
Jae Pak, MD, Jae Pak MD Medical
Make Relaxing and Recharging Part of Your Workday
Most workplaces know what their team has set out to achieve on a particular day, but very few will know of ways to motivate them in this task. They usually leave employees to make their way through their own hurdles, a tactic that is a huge deterrent to finding a balance.
As far as workers in any field of work go, they can achieve work-life balance only when their employer makes a genuine effort to help them in this endeavor every day. An initiative that works well is where team leaders or managers introduce relaxation into the daily work schedule of a team and ensure that they get enough time to recharge their senses during their hours at work. Such a routine will leave employees less exhausted, giving them enough energy to work towards maintaining a work-life balance.
Azmaira Maker, Ph.D., Founding Director, Aspiring Families
Ban Work-Related Communication After Hours
While I’ve never been in favor of working overtime, as the head of a recruiting firm, I’ve often been faced with the challenge of demanding clients contacting us after hours or frazzled workers reaching out in the evening about the next day’s tasks.
In the beginning, I found no option other than entertaining whatever communication came my way. However, I decided to set some boundaries when we started growing. Now, we have a strict policy that only allows work talk during work hours, enabling my team to unplug when they get home.
I do have the personal contact numbers of a few team members in case of emergencies, but we respect each other’s boundaries and don’t message or call unless absolutely necessary. I also try leading by example and avoid contacting staff on PTO and expect them to extend the same courtesy unless I call and check in myself when I’m on vacation.
Anjela Mangrum, President, Mangrum Career Solutions
Hire Adequate Staff and Rotate Time Off
My team and I were able to achieve work-life balance by hiring an adequate number of people, who then rotated taking time off. People go on vacations, get sick, or have to take care of family members.
You have a personnel issue if losing one individual will seriously compromise the performance of your team. Nobody on your team, including you, should believe they are actually indispensable.
In her book, Sleeping with Your Smartphone, Leslie Perlow explains how a Boston Consulting Group experiment with one team eventually scaled to 900 teams in 30 countries. With team members substituting for the person who chose to spend time with family, go on a trip, or do whatever, teams worked together to develop a common goal around everyone enjoying time off.
It strengthens trust, collaboration, and efficiency in teams and can result in higher perceived value addition to clients by allowing your staff to take a break without worrying that everything would fall apart. They also feel more positive.
Joe Li, Managing Director, CheckYa
Allow Employees to Have a Say
Rather than upper management deciding how to delegate tasks and allocate work, it’s best to let the employees have a voice. When employees are allowed to speak freely, you can work with them to come up with a mutually beneficial way of working so that a work-life balance is achieved while productivity is maintained.
Whether it’s by managing expectations, shuffling roles, or introducing upskilling programs, there’s a lot that companies can achieve by listening to employees, understanding their needs, and working toward a solution.
Asma Hafejee, Sr. Marketing Executive, CMR Surgical
Establish Clear and Measurable Goals for Your Team
To achieve work-life balance on your team, I would recommend establishing clear and measurable goals for your team members and communicating these goals in a way that is easy to understand and track.
This can help team members stay focused and motivated and can also help reduce feelings of stress and pressure. Additionally, it can be helpful to provide regular feedback and recognition for a job well done, which can help boost morale and motivation. It is also important to have open lines of communication within the team, to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that everyone’s needs are being met.
Ram Thakur, Founder, Solution Suggest
Provide Wellness and Mental Health Resources
Having a healthy work-life balance, in part, comes from providing your team with resources to promote wellness and mental health. Oftentimes, employees may feel stressed and overwhelmed by work, so encouraging them to take care of themselves physically and emotionally will help them achieve a good relationship with their work.
You can find someone to host wellness workshops that show employees how to eat well, exercise, and manage their emotions; these are just some of the things you can do to support your team. You may also send them monthly or quarterly care packages. You want your employees to be as healthy as they can in all areas of their life so they can perform their best at work and live their best in their personal lives.
Jonathan Krieger, VP of Sales, Fabuwood
Work-life balance is important for both the success of any team and for the well-being of its individual members. My best strategy for achieving this balance was to schedule mandatory breaks. These breaks were designed to nurture a culture where everyone felt refreshed and inspired to continue working, rather than stressed from feeling overwhelmed with their workload.
An uncommon example was promoting an open-door policy which allowed team members to take time away from their desks when necessary and encourage communication between colleagues. Doing this facilitated trust within the group, as individuals could leave knowing they had someone else available should an inquiry arise. This approach made it easier for everyone to step away mentally, alleviating stress and promoting a successful work-life balance on our team.
Grace He, People & Culture Director, teambuilding.com
Encourage Employees to Pursue a Hobby
Hobbies and passion projects are a great way for people to recharge. When professionals talk about work-life balance, they are talking about having the ability to enjoy life outside of work, whether that means spending more time with friends and family or pursuing a hobby. Workplaces can encourage hobbies by holding special events like sports days, classes like yoga or meditation, or simply offering more PTO.
Gary Paull Jr., CEO, Gauss
Structure Hybrid Work Arrangements
Since COVID-19 hit back in 2020, our organization has maintained a hybrid approach in the way we organize our employees. We feel that most of the work can be done at home. However, we still have two days in the work week where we meet up in the office for meetings, brainstorming, and fun activities as well.
Many of our employees are much more productive right now, and it is clear that they are having an easier time managing their professional lives without sacrificing their personal lives. Hybrid work arrangements are the future of labor, and I have already seen several organizations taking on this idea. We are also looking to test a three-day work week in the next two months.
Logan Nguyen, Co-Founder, MIDSS
Set a Light on a Timer
Setting a timer on a light can help enforce healthy boundaries between your workday and home life. To implement this strategy, decide when your workday will end and set a timer on your office light to go off at that time.
This will provide a visual reminder that it’s time to begin winding down for the day, helping you achieve balance and prevent overworking. Additionally, setting the timer allows you to trust yourself to actually follow through with quitting work when the time comes; it takes the need for self-discipline out of the equation and lets you relax knowing that the timer will do its job!
Jeremy Reis, Founder, Explore Startups
Give Employees Paid Time Off to Reenergize
Allowing employees paid time off from work is one of the best tips to help people have a work-life balance. You can make a policy that allows employees to have every Friday afternoon off.
With people working half days on Fridays, it was found that they felt incredibly refreshed and energized. Teams have responded very favorably to it, and although they are putting in significantly fewer hours, they are still very productive.
Unlimited vacation is another option you have, but it’s important to remember that in the working world, “unlimited” time off doesn’t necessarily exist. This policy has been misunderstood by many. People regularly go on travels that could last two to three weeks.
Despite that, we do urge you to take a vacation. If you do have unlimited PTO, be sure to be clear about the rules for taking time off. Be specific regarding unrestricted PTO and urge staff to take at least one or two days off each month or one week every three months. It is more of a “take what you need” approach.
Himanshu Sharma, CEO & Founder, Tattvam Media Private Limited
Create Task Lists, Review, and Distribute Daily
One strategy for achieving work-life balance on a team is to establish clear priorities and regularly reassess them. This can be done by creating a list of tasks for the team and reviewing it every day to ensure that everyone is on the same page and that the workload is distributed fairly.
This can help ensure that important tasks are completed on time and that everyone is able to take the time they need for personal and family commitments. Another tip is to set boundaries and make sure that everyone respects each other’s time outside of work.
This means setting clear expectations around response times and availability and encouraging team members to disconnect when they are not working, to avoid burnout and improve overall productivity.
Mark McShane, Marketing Director, Birmingham First Aid Courses
My best tip for achieving work-life balance on a team is to set clear expectations and boundaries. Setting expectations for the number of hours expected to be put in for the job and setting boundaries for when work should and should not be done can help create a balance between work and life.
It is also important to ensure that everyone on the team is aware of these expectations and boundaries to ensure that everyone is on the same page and working towards the same goal. Additionally, ensuring that there are adequate breaks and time off for employees to relax and recharge is key to maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Joe Davies, CEO, FATJOE
Formalize Work Hours With Supportive Apps
Work with applications that have a formal working-hours setting. The transition from full-time office work to full-time remote work was challenging for us, both practically and emotionally. The line between work and home became blurred, and this inevitably resulted in work creeping into home life.
This disrupted work-life balance created tension, costing us precious time with our families and friends. However, we quickly discovered that many of our applications had formal start and end times, blocking communications outside of those working hours.
For example, our telephone application now only accepts calls between 9:00 a.m. and 5:30 p.m., which formalized the start and end of the day. Our emails, team collaboration software, and content management platform also had similar settings, preventing us from receiving notifications outside of working hours. Once our applications had switched off, that gave us permission to do the same, creating a clear barrier between work and life.
Ben Schwencke, Business Psychologist, Test Partnership