Dear HR Manager from Work-Life Balance Advocate

Dear HR Manager from Work-Life Balance Advocate

Dear HR Manager

My team worked overtime during the pandemic to meet production goals and did not complain about the extra hours. However, now that we are back to “normal,” I noticed that a few of them will respond to emails outside of business hours and stay late at the office. I worry they haven’t slowed down and will get burned out. How can I encourage my team to disconnect from work after hours?

– Work-Life Balance Advocate

Dear Advocate,

Kudos for looking out for your team. Work-life balance is an essential part of employee wellness. Everyone needs time to recharge.

A few tips to educate your team on the importance of work-life balance:

Set clear expectations.

Tell your team know that work-life balance is integral to being a good team member. For example, “We just finished a busy period at work, and you all gave 150%. Now that we are back to normal timelines, we do not need to be online after hours or on weekends unless there is a specific urgent request.”

Provide resources.

It is vital to provide your team with resources that enable them to “log off” confidently. Two tools to consider are using out-of-office email messages and silencing notifications. Automated email messages can inform clients or colleagues of expected response times. (“You can expect to hear back from me during regular business hours.”) On the other hand, a notification app removes the temptation to respond after hours. Setting a specific time can be your team’s best practice if they need to check in at night.

Encourage paid time off.

More than half of American employees don’t use all their paid time off. This is an excellent opportunity to share this stat and include a plug for vacation time. Remind your employees that stepping away from work for personal time is essential to keep them sharp and well-rested.

Changing any habit can be difficult, no matter how good it sounds. The key to establishing new work boundaries is to set expectations, lead by example, and stick to the plan. I am sure your team will appreciate your support.

– HR Manager

Originally featured in UBA’s August 2022 HR Elements Newsletter.


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