Are your employees afraid to ask for help?

“My nanny cancelled at the last minute and I don’t even know where to start with finding a replacement. I’ll have to call in and take a sick day”.

“I’ve taken a day off to take my dad to and from the hospital all day. Not much of a day off!”.

“I’ve been given the flexibility to work from home, however it doesn’t change the fact I need someone to look after the kids so I can fully focus at work”.

“We woke up this morning and my son, Robert, is ill. This last minute I have no other choice but to take the day off work. It would be great to have access to support which would allow me to still get to work but know that someone is looking after my son and I’m not missing work!”.

“I’ve got an away day coming up which means I won’t be at home for over 12 hours. I need to find a dog sitter”.

“It’s the summer holidays and the kids are at home. It’s pretty impossible to show up for them, keep the house in order and be present at work. I don’t feel comfortable flagging this to my manager, I should just get on with it”.

Employees are constantly juggling work and life. And sometimes emergencies come up. But often employees struggle in silence as they feel unable to ask for help.

As an employer, it’s important to be attuned to the signs that indicate employees may be experiencing difficulties with work-life balance.

Some common indicators include:

1. Increase absenteeism: frequent and unexplained absences or an uptick in sick leave can be indicative of employees struggling to manage their personal and professional commitments.

2. Reduced productivity: when employees are overwhelmed, their performance may suffer. Look for signs of decreased motivation, missed deadlines, or a decline in the quality of work.

3. High turnover rates: dissatisfaction with work-life balance can contribute to a higher turnover rate as employees seek opportunities that offer more flexibility and support.

4. Emotional and physical health issues: chronic stress, burnout, and increased susceptibility to illnesses can arise from an imbalanced work-life dynamic.

Despite the growing awareness of work-life balance, many employees still hesitate to seek help due to various reasons. These silent struggles can have severe consequences for both individuals and organisations.

Here are a few common challenges employees face:

1. Fear of being perceived as weak: the belief that seeking assistance implies incompetence or weakness often prevents employees from asking for support in managing their work-life balance.

2. Lack of organisation support: when organisations do not prioritise work-life balance or fail to provide resources for achieving it, employees may hesitate to voice their concerns.

3. Cultural expectations and norms: societal and workplace norms sometimes discourage open discussions about work-life balance, leading employees to believe they should silently endure the challenges.

4. Perceived negative career impact: employees may worry that admitting their struggles will jeopardise their career advancement opportunities or cast doubt on their commitment to the organisation.

Providing help and encouraging dialogue:
To create an environment where employees feel comfortable seeking help with work-life balance, organisations need to take proactive steps.

Here are some strategies to consider:

1. Promote a culture of support: encourage open dialogue about work-life balance and make it clear that seeking assistance is not a sign of weakness but a positive step towards personal growth and overall well-being.

2. Offer support and programmes: offer resources for your employees that will help alleviate work-life conflicts so they can thrive at work. Examples include employee assistance programs, wellness initiatives and on-demand, in-person employee benefits that give employees the flexibility to choose the support that best suits them.

3. Lead by example: managers and leaders should prioritise their own work-life balance and share their experiences and strategies with their teams. This demonstrates that achieving harmony is both possible and valued within the organisation.

Recognising and addressing the silent struggles employees face in balancing work and personal life is essential for fostering a healthy and engaged workforce.

A workplace that values work-life balance benefits not only the employees but also the organisation as a whole.

It’s time to prioritise the well-being of our workforce and create a more harmonious and productive work environment.

Are you really listening to your employees?


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We’ve talked about the benefits of work-life balance on employee wellbeing. But where do organisations even begin?

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