Things for organizations to try: Improving Work-life balance

We need to make sure we’re using best practice to support colleagues to enjoy their work and life outside of work, and avoid burnout in doing so.

6. Work-life balance - org

1. Rebalance workloads and responsibilities

When workload and responsibilities aren’t evenly spread across organizations, people feel things are unfair and it can lead to burnout. Use your Friday Pulse Heatmap to see where teams in your organization are experiencing too much stress.

How to do it:

  • On your Friday Pulse Heatmap, take a look at the column marked “Work-life balance” , scan down the scores team-by-team.
  • Ask yourselves: 1) Do we have teams whose Work-life balance score is much lower than average? 2) Do we have teams with great Work-life balance who are hungry for more autonomy and challenge? 3) Can we rebalance the load towards these hungry teams?
  • If you are moving work around, be mindful that you don’t just take it off those shouting the loudest.
  • Be alert that senior leadership or middle management groups often score lower for Work-life balance.
  • Be aware that leadership teams can also cascade pressure downwards when they are in a state of stress.

2. Move to a 4-day working week

In 2020 Friday Pulse moved to a 4-day working week and our team still loves it! We have better communication, collaboration, and feel more cohesive as a company. And we have more quality family time, time to volunteer and connect with nature, and better health.

How to do it:

  • Take a look at Alex Soojung-Kim Pang's book, Shorter. This is great for everyone, but it’s especially useful for any skeptics as it explores reducing working hours without cutting productivity.
  • Think about what framework looks right for your organization.
  • Keep in mind that full-time employees would be working 20% fewer hours for the same level of pay. Consider how to reconcile this for people who work part-time.
  • Announce a trial of the 4-day working week; explain the why, and suggest some ways of how colleagues might make it work. We suggest a trial of at least six weeks.
  • Ask people to track how they’re using their time and reflect on how they’re spending it and where they could make efficiencies.
  • Consult with colleagues who have already reduced their working hours; they will have useful insights.
  • Ask teams to organize together which days people take off to ensure full service is maintained, both internally and externally.
  • Once the trial starts, ask teams to include discussions on what’s working and what needs to improve in their weekly team catch ups,
  • The majority of companies that trial a 4-day week decide to stick with it. Stay open to reviewing and changing your set-up as you go!

Case studies

A growing number of organizations are moving to a 4-day working week. Trials with 1% of the population of Iceland between 2015 and 2019 resulted in people working fewer hours for the same pay. Productivity was not negatively affected and in some cases it went up. Many companies and countries have followed suit.

3. Celebrate commitments outside work

Show the same commitment to leisure, friends and family as to work; this normalizes work-life balance for everyone!

How to do it:

  • Ask people what new commitments they have made to their health and happiness over the last couple of years.
  • Which of these commitments are they keen to keep/develop?
  • Regularly celebrate the things people are doing - whether it’s taking children to school, training for a challenge, or being home in time for dinner. Chose a mix of big and small, everyday and extraordinary commitments.
  • Ask leaders to share the commitments they have outside of work too. This underscores and normalizes that what everyone does outside of work is valued.

Case study’s founder Marc Lore packs his children’s lunches each morning and makes sure he is home for family dinner every night - without any detriment to his business. He sold his former company Quidsi for more than $500 million and raised $80 million to launch