Technology keeps employees connected to the office 24-7. But employees can’t be expected to stay in their inboxes constantly. They’ll burn out. In an always-on environment, managers need to keep the importance of employee retention top of mind.
Luckily, managers have the power to ensure their employees aren’t glued to their work devices all the time. Sometimes it just takes a little creativity to improve your staff’s work-life balance. Here are five tactics you need to add to your employee retention strategies:
1. Let employees take long lunches to reenergize
You can’t expect your employees to show up to work in the morning and simply work through the entire day, eating lunch at their desks with their right hands while they type with their left hands. From time to time, employees need to take breaks to relieve stress, clear their minds, search for inspiration, or simply get their blood flowing.
According to Business News Daily, 85% of employees feel as though they’re more productive when they take breaks. So instead of creating a culture where everyone eats lunch at their desks, encourage your employees to take long lunches so they can recharge their batteries. That way, they won’t suffer from an unproductive afternoon slump.
2. Encourage your employees to run errands during the day
There’s no way around it: some errands have to be done during the day. The cable guy might tell you he’s stopping by your house between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The mechanic’s shop might close promptly at 5 p.m. A government agency (e.g., the DMV) might shutter its doors even earlier.
Instead of making your employees dread having to figure out when to take care of the tedious tasks inherent in their lives, be as flexible and accommodating as possible. Let them tackle errands during the day, within reason. Since your employees will no longer have to spend time thinking about how they’re going to take care of various errands when they’re at the office, they’ll be more productive.
3. Give your staff the option to work a four-day week
Do your employees really need to work five days every week? Instead of forcing them to come to the office Monday through Friday, give them the option of taking a four-day workweek instead. Rather than working five 8-hour days, let them work four 10-hour days.
You can either let them take a three-day weekend every week (doesn’t that sound amazing?), or you can have them alternate the day they take off each week (e.g., Friday off this week, Monday off next week, Tuesday off the following week, etc.).
If you’re not comfortable with allowing your employees to work four days a week, give them the option of creating their own schedules instead. So long as they put in the requisite amount of time, take care of all their responsibilities, and don’t miss any meetings, does it really matter when, exactly, they work?
With flexible schedules, an employee might choose to work 6 hours on Monday, 10 hours on Tuesday, 10 hours on Wednesday, 8 hours on Thursday, and 6 hours on Friday. Some of those hours might be early in the morning and others might be late at night. The bottom line is that your employees get to choose to work the hours that fit best with their schedules.
5. Invest in tools and technologies
According to our 2015 Employee Engagement Report, nearly 70% of employees say they have a hard time getting all of their work done each week. To stay on top of their ever-increasing workloads, many employees are forced to take work home with them — which adversely affects work-life balance.
By investing in the right tools and technologies, however, you can make their jobs more manageable. For example, collaboration platforms can help employees stay on the same page no matter where they happen to be. And apps like Zapier can help automate work flows.
No matter what your team is struggling with, there’s almost certainly a platform that was built to address that specific problem. By investing in the right tools, your employees will likely be able to reclaim a good chunk of their days.
There’s a saying in today’s professional world that work is life. For some, that may apply. But for the majority of people who enjoy after-work happy hours, binge-watching Netflix, or whittling wood, there needs to be a balance between work and life. These five employee retention ideas will help proactive managers reduce the risk of high employee turnover.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2016 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.