“Every generation seeks a healthy work-life balance, but ’it’s the millennials who most demand it from their employers.”
Encouraging a healthy work-life balance
The boundary between work and regular life is disappearing, causing more stress and burnout among white-collar workers who continue to work from home partially. “That’s why it’s vital for your employees to keep track of work time”, says Peter s’Jongers, former CEO at Protime. “A simple concept to maintain or restore balance.”
Dolly Parton already knew it in 1980: working 9 to 5, what a way to make a living. But back then, there were very few alternatives. Now, things have changed. The rigid worktime structures for white-collar workers have shattered into numerous flexible schedules. And there’s no way back. The growing group of working millennials – approximately 50% of all workers today – crave flexibility. They want time for children, passions, social interactions or any kind of life besides what they do for a pay cheque. With that in mind, it comes as no surprise that employees consider worktime arrangements the number one argument for choosing employer A over employer B.
Walking a tightrope
Due to their always-on approach to life, millennials see no problem in blending work and life. Checking e-mails before they get out of bed in the morning, then shopping online while at the office, exchanging texts with their managers after 7:00 p.m., and then planning the next work week on Sunday afternoon are native to them. However, this fluid lifestyle also constitutes an inherent risk, as a good balance is fragile. Many employees find themselves working more hours than they officially should, have difficulties disconnecting when on leave, and admit that their work is causing mental strain.
of French (54.9%), Belgian (50.3%), and Finnish (50.1%) employees find their work a mental strain, as opposed to 37.6% in the Netherlands.
Attractive employers not only offer customised worktime arrangements, they also ensure employees have the right tools to make these succeed. An effective tool in that respect is time registration. It basically serves as a heart-rate monitor: it shows your employees when they are overdoing it, and when there’s still some scope to kick it up a notch. The goal: to encourage employee self-management. And not to establish employer control, as some may think. That connotation of control is still a relic of the past when workers needed to punch the clock on their way in and out. Instead, modern-day time registration enables a healthy flow of life and work, as the numbers demonstrate.
Balancing individual and team agendas
Depending on the day or the week, people may have more or less time to work. For example, within a co-parenting situation, you probably have more time on days when you don’t have the kids than on days when you do. Time registration allows you to fulfil both commitments without stressing about whether or not you’ve put in enough time. The same goes for team-based time registration. It helps to decide who can take on which project and when, to spot who’s in need of a helping hand, and to align holidays so no one gets stuck with a work overload.
How managers benefit from time registration
Although employees are the main beneficiaries of time registration, they are not the only ones. Time data are excellent indicators for managers to verify whether their goals and targets are as viable as previously imagined. It eliminates the need for guesswork when they are required to estimate how long a certain type of activity takes to complete. On top of that, time registration enables them to assist with their team’s work-life balance. If someone ignores signs of an overload, a manager can approach that employee in good time. Or they can point out, for example, that someone still has to use up the rest of his holiday and hasn’t planned anything yet. After all, the prospect of an upcoming holiday – even if it’s months away – can lighten the mood.
Towards maximum flexibility
Giving employees the freedom to manage their own time and offering them the tools to do so consciously can greatly impact their work-life balance. Legal constraints, however, are still limiting work time flexibility, but as Dolly Parton also sang: the tide’s gonna turn. Legislators will continue to open the door for maximum flexibility. And the most attractive employers will be those who can turn it into a competitive edge.
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