In a busy workplace, it’s easy to get so focused on deadlines and productivity that you forget to consider how it’s impacting your employees. The most engaged employees are the ones who have their work and personal lives in sync. On the other hand, those who feel like one is dragging down the other are at the highest risk of burning out or jumping ship for a company they believe will better suit their needs.
The best way to ensure a positive work experience for everyone is to first understand their current situation. The seven questions below will help identify employees whose job satisfaction is beginning to tank and work-life balance is taking a hit.
How is your work-life balance?
Sometimes the most simple and direct question is all it takes to quickly get to the bottom of what factors are driving or detracting from an employee’s work-life balance. This question may be the most obvious, however, depending on the employee’s situation or the work environment, they may not be entirely forthcoming with an answer. In which case, the next few questions may help shed a little more light on an employee’s situation.
How do you feel about your position within the company?
People with a healthy work-life balance will not only have a more optimistic opinion about their current job, they will also have a more positive outlook for their future prospects within the company. Because their personal lives are in sync with their professional lives, they are more engaged and therefore more likely to be satisfied with their level of work-life balance.
How would you describe the team dynamics of the department/company/etc.?
An employee’s relationship with co-workers and colleagues can have a major impact on work-life balance. Coming into a work environment each day that is wrought with negativity and conflict will wear down even the most optimistic person, so it’s important to understand the team dynamics and address toxic situations before they get out of hand.
How would you describe our company culture?
In the same vein as the previous question, uncovering ways your company culture may be missing the mark will help pinpoint areas to improve that will impact the overall work-life balance. Do employees feel like they have a voice? Do they have enough opportunities to grow and advance? Is there enough freedom and flexibility in the way they work? Taking a critical look at your company culture will help foster an environment that’s more conducive to positive work-life balance.
How often do you take work home?
From mounting deadlines to short-staffed teams, there are a wide range of reasons employees may take work home. In most workplaces, some after-hours work is expected. But if you find an employee’s work life is taking over their personal life, there’s a good chance they’re heading toward burnout. Setting clear expectations about where to draw the line between working at home or from the office can help workers alleviate some of this stress. And fostering open communication among your workforce may even allow employees to address the issue before it gets out of control.
When was your last vacation?
Everyone needs a break from the daily grind once and awhile. So, if you discover an employee sitting on a large amount of unused vacation time, it may be a good idea to ask if they’re getting enough time away from the office. Studies show that rested employees are more productive and more satisfied with their work-life balance, so it’s important to encourage your workforce to take the time off they have earned.
Assuming no constraints, what is your dream job?
Feeling trapped in a job that doesn’t align with your interests will affect work-life balance. Whether it’s family commitments, financial necessity, or economic reasons, many people take a job based on their immediate needs and put off pursuing their passion, settling instead for a means to an end. In fact, even the most successful people in your company may feel dissatisfied with their careers if they don’t have any real emotional attachment. Knowing a worker’s “dream job” may help create work-life balance by uncovering ways their current position can be modified to be more fulfilling.
The major theme connecting all these questions is communication. Often, an employee will simply leave a company for a job with better opportunities for work-life balance, instead of first talking with their supervisor about their issues. With the war for talent heating up, talented employees may be encouraged by steps their companies are willing to take.