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Industry Insights

Work-Life Integration: Blend. Balance. Bloom.

work life integration

Spring has finally sprung! And with nature’s productivity kicking into overdrive, it’s a suiting time to examine the productivity within our own offices. 

Employees are busier than ever. Bloomberg reports Americans work 25 percent more than their European counterparts. This comes as the number of employees who are assuming dual working-parent roles while also caring for aging parents hits an all-time high. It can be a lot to manage. That’s why employers are turning to work-life integration strategies to keep employee-stress and distractions at bay.

The concept of work-life integration focuses on finding a synergy, not separation, between work and personal lives. This means understanding employees’ hectic lifestyles, the unexpected obstacles they face and how to maintain productivity accordingly.

While many employers make it a priority to implement such practices, there’s still a gap between work-life integration expectations and reality. According to Ernst & Young, 24 percent of U.S. employees said work-life integration is becoming more difficult to manage. It’s crucial that employers take a strategic, culture-wide approach when implementing such initiatives.

Let’s break down the best practices by examining the three B’s of work-life integration.

Blend

Personal and business needs are no longer dictated by the hands of the clock. Emergencies happen, things pop up and we often need to be in two places at once — it’s just today’s new norm. Employers can alleviate the stresses of round-the-clock schedules by allowing employees to blend the lines between work and personal time.

Accommodate hectic schedules through remote work. Provide your team with the right equipment and platforms to complete their work at home or on-the-go. Offer training to familiarize employees with the new telecommuting systems. With remote work capabilities, employees don’t have to take a day off for emergencies and won’t feel burdened by after-hours business requests — as they understand it’s part of their blended duties.

While remote work has found a permanent place in the business world (as 37 percent of U.S. employees have telecommuted for work) not every business is suited for a virtual workforce. If remote work isn’t applicable, consider allowing for flexible schedules. Flexible schedules give employees freedom and help them maintain their in-office productivity.

These accommodations are especially important to employees with small children or who are caring for an elderly parent. Additional side effects may just include reduced stress and improved job satisfaction.

Balance

Some things are just meant to stay separate — and that’s something all parties should respect. 

While yes, employees do have a lot on their plate, not everything warrants time away from their job. Meanwhile, things like visiting the doctor annually, absolutely should — even if employees don’t always make their health a priority. It’s up to employers to support the right balance between work and personal activities and offer resources to facilitate the balancing act.

Your employee benefits package and perks play a vital role in facilitating this balance. Here are some key pieces to consider when crafting your employee benefits program:

  • Encourage use of PTO
    Work-life integration should not breed workaholics. Encourage employees not to bypass vacation or doctor’s visits in hopes of getting ahead. These are vital to their long-term emotional and physical wellbeing. (In fact, employees who take a vacation are more likely to earn promotions plus routine medical care can avoid costly long-term aliments.)

  • Introduce lifestyle benefits
    Lifestyle benefits focus on time-saving perks that help maintain order and balance. They range from child care to dog walking services to identity theft protection. For example, EZShield Identity Protection services zero-in on a primary consumer concern as well as something that, when it happens, becomes a significant time-sucker that is easy for employers to overlook.

    When an employee enrolled in EZShield Identity Protection experiences identity theft or fraud, they can utilize our fully-managed identity restoration services. This allows our team of experts to use a limited power of attorney to work on their behalf to resolve the matter, giving them back many hours of their personal time!

    The scenario could look very different without EZShield, as employees can spend an average of 18 hours working with financial institutions, credit bureaus and law enforcement officials on their own to clear their name. These activities typically take place during business hours, when these agencies are open and customer service representatives are available to assist them. Having to do this work on their own would take the employee away from the task you need them to focus on at work.

  • Set realistic, visible expectations
    Have a written rule of conduct to set boundaries in the workplace. These guidelines should clearly state appropriate conduct during work hours or while using company-provided resources. Additionally, ensure you have realistic expectations of employees and their time — dictate any special requirements in their job descriptions.

Bloom

The real trick to mastering work-life integration is embracing it as part of your company culture. Ensure this new strategy touches every aspect of your organization, including HR initiatives and employee communication tactics.

According to the Harvard Business Review, an organization’s work-life culture – all the unwritten rules and expectations surrounding how people are supposed to work and what it means to be a good employee – has enormous power over employee behavior.

For example, even if you encourage the use of PTO, there may be an unspoken perception that using PTO will get you labeled as a lazy employee. Vocalize your initiatives and embed them into a dynamic, balanced culture to help you better reach long-term human resources goals and eradicate any negative stereotypes that may be looming in the shadows.

With the right culture in place, you can see your team bloom both personally and professionally. As well as put your organization on a productive, profitable path.

Mastering Work-Life Integration With EZShield

Are you ready to rev-up your work-life integration initiative? Consider EZShield Identity Protection as an employee benefit. With best-in-class identity restoration services, advanced monitoring and proactive security tools — employees can feel in-control of their personal and financial information, and ultimately, their time.

For more information on EZShield Identity Protection programs for your business and employee benefits program, schedule a demo today.

About Angela Murphy

Angela Murphy, Chief Operating Officer at EZShield Identity Protection Angela joined EZShield in June 2010. As Chief Operating Officer, she is responsible for all aspects of business operations, including Customer Support and Client Services as well as Human Resources, Administration and Risk Management. Angela has over 20 years of experience in Operations, Client Management and Human Resources and has held senior level positions in organizations ranging from start-ups, to mature turnaround organizations. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Better Business Bureau of Greater Maryland, and was recently announced as a winner of the 2016 SmartCEO Brava Award honoring Baltimore’s Top Female Executives. She holds both a Bachelor and a Master of Science degree in Psychology from Loyola University in Maryland.

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