DISTRIBUTED: Work Life Balance

Cue a thousand eye-rolls. Trust us, we know the phrase “work-life balance” has been overused, abused and beaten to a pulp in the corporate world. Even so, this principle is extremely important for every business—especially for distributed teams. Sadly when it comes to ensuring employees live a well-adjusted life, plenty of companies talk the talk; but very few walk the walk.

Here at Intridea, we’ve discovered that when our team members derive joy from activities outside of work hours, they channel that happiness directly into their projects during work hours. In the end, this leads to increased employee productivity and higher quality work. That’s exactly why we urge our employees to maintain a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives.

Can’t Buy Success

According to a study by Accenture, more than half of surveyed workers say work-life balance is the key determiner for whether or not they have a successful career. They place it ahead of recognition, autonomy and even money.

The study was based on surveys of 4,100 business executives from medium to large organizations in 33 countries, including the U.S. Half of those surveyed said they have turned down a job offer because they believed it could negatively impact their work-life balance.

“Companies that can help their employees navigate both their professional and personal lives are likely to see strong employee engagement and enjoy an advantage as they recruit and retain high performers,” said Nellie Borrero, managing director of global inclusion and diversity for Accenture.

Boost Your Bottom Line

Not only does work-life balance lead to more engaged employees—it can also give your company’s earnings a major boost. Based on a study by UK firm Morgan Redwood, businesses that helped workers achieve a healthy work-life balance earned nearly a quarter more per employee each year than companies that did not.

Study participants said their employees were able to manage their personal lives more easily, resulting in fewer missed days, improved well-being and increased productivity—which led to higher profits for the entire company.

The Happiness Factor

Employees with a balanced life are generally more cheerful people—and studies show that happiness pays off big time for businesses.

In The Happiness Advantage: Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work, author and researcher Shawn Achor points out that a happy workforce increases sales by 37 percent and productivity by 31 percent.

“It’s irrefutable. We know happy employees are the most successful employees, so happiness brings success, and that brings success to our organizations,” says Helen Mumford Sole, an executive coach who specializes in happiness. “This is a win-win all around.”

Not surprisingly, remote workers are often happier simply because they aren’t forced to schlep to a brick-and-mortar office day after day. According to an annual telecommuting survey issued by Staples Advantage, telecommuting programs are “mutually beneficial” for both employers and employees. That’s because remote working results in more content employees, reduced absenteeism and less stress. “Telecommuting can help achieve balance between workplace demands and life obligations,” explained Tom Heisroth, senior vice president for Staples Advantage.

Because distributed businesses cut out the commute and offer employees a more flexible schedule, these companies inherently lead to improved work-life balance. However, we believe it’s not enough for distributed teams to simply suggest that employees strive for work-life balance—or even strongly encourage it. If you want your business to thrive, it’s essential to put work-life balance front and center.

In our next blog, we’ll reveal seven surefire ways to enforce work-life balance for your distributed team.
Does your company work remote? Keep the conversation going! We’d love to hear from you.