How Can HR Promote a Positive Work-Life Balance on Campus?

Posted by Shelley Kilpatrick on 6 September 2016 |

hr positive work life balanceDoes staff frequently check emails at home? Are faculty extending office hours to meet with more students? Are administrators staying late to finish up last minute projects?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, it’s possible faculty and staff at your campus are dangerously close to experiencing burnout. And yes, burnout is a real thing.

The Negative Consequences of Burnout

Not only does it burnout negatively affect productivity, but it also takes a toll on morale, job satisfaction and how co-workers relate to each other.

And the negativity can have far reaching consequences, such as faculty who are under so much pressure to produce research that their classroom teaching suffers to staff becoming so frustrated with a heavy workload that they engage in workplace bullying.

What can you do to help faculty and staff who are close to experiencing burnout? Turn your focus on creating a positive campus culture that encourages balance between work and life outside of work.

5 Ways You Can Promote a Positive Work-Life Balance

Ask your workforce what they want.

All the advice in the world doesn’t substitute for actually asking faculty and staff what they want to have a better work-life balance. This could be as simple as an open-ended survey or having them brainstorm ideas.

Either way, getting their input is extremely beneficial to designing extra programs or amending current policies. Plus, it shows them you care about their needs.

Limit their hours.

It might be difficult to limit the hours that faculty works, but for staff, limit them to working an eight-hour day. This means discouraging employees from staying after hours. And making sure that their managers are aware not to give them excessive amounts of work.

Also, make sure salaried employees, such as managers and supervisors, adhere to a reasonable work schedule. And if they do stay late, encourage them to leave early on days where there is a lighter workload.

Offer time for wellness activities.

It’s well known that exercising is an extremely good thing for our health. But many people who are experiencing burnout simply don’t have the time to make it to the gym—even if there’s a recreation center right on campus.

Create incentive programs and allow employees time off work so that they can exercise. For example, you can host a competition between departments to see who can complete the most healthy activities over a semester, give them the time to work on the activities and then reward the winners.

Institute flex time for appointments.

When people work too hard, it’s not just exercising that can take a back seat. They might ignore other health issues, such as a painful tooth or persistent cough, because they are afraid to miss time from work.

To combat this fear, you can offer flex time for employees to get to their doctor’s appointments during the week and then make up the time later. Or you can let employees work remotely, especially if the majority of their work can be completed with a computer.

Encourage communication.

Burnout doesn’t happen without any warning. Faculty and staff work harder and harder over time, and then experience burnout. That’s why it’s up to deans, managers, supervisors and HR to check in on employees to see how they are doing.

Encouraging a policy of open and honest communication is essential to helping employees. They need to know that if they express how they are feeling, there won’t be any negative consequences, and that in fact, you are there to help them manage the workload.

The Next Step

The school year is just beginning. So you have time to keep an eye on your faculty and staff to make sure they aren’t experiencing any of the signs of burnout.

And even if you don’t notice it right away, it’s still good to ask them what you can do to help create a better work-life balance on your campus. Because the happier your faculty and staff are, the better it is for recruiting and retaining valuable talent.

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