How can Employers promote a work-life balance in the workplace?

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04 October, 2023

Lauren Wood

National Work Life Week (2 - 6 October 2023) is an annually ran campaign by the Working Families Charity to get employers and employees talking about wellbeing at work and work life balance.

National Work Life Week is a key opportunity for employers to highlight the importance of a work life balance between our personal lives, whether that is balancing running a household, spending time with family and friends or participating in hobbies with our working life. A work life balance is different to every employee depending on their circumstances, but nonetheless is incredibly important.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, a global report was conducted by Randstad in 2021 which showed that 65% of job seekers in the UK prioritized work-life balance over pay and benefits. Employees are now starting to prioritize family or their private life over their working life. In addition, working flexibly has been shown to increase productivity and happiness. Therefore, it is important that if you want to retain and recruit the best talent for your company your business is equipped with the adequate tools to provide this to your employees.

Do you have a flexible working policy in place?

The current law states that Employees have the right to request flexible working once they have been employed for 26 weeks, however, on 20 July 2023 the Employment Relations (Flexible Working) Act 2023 received Royal Assent which is due to come into effect in mid-2024, meaning that Flexible Working will become a day one right.

What is flexible working?

Flexible working can come in various forms, but is not limited to:

  • Job sharing
  • Working from home - Either full time or on a hybrid basis.
  • Part time
  • Compressed Hours - Working full time hours but over fewer days.
  • Flexitime - The employee chooses when to start and end work (within agreed limits) but works certain 'core hours' for example 10am to 4pm every day.

Although flexible working has been proven to increase productivity as well as assist in recruitment, it should be noted that it can lead to isolation and a blurring of boundaries between work and home life and therefore the employee's wellbeing when granting such a request should be kept under review.

Guidance for Employers

The Working Families Charity highlights some key guidance on how Employers can implement a work life balance in their workplace:

  • Bringing the team together and communication: If your team regularly works from home or works on a hybrid basis, suggest a meet up in person to reconnect, review work or check in with one another.
  • Offer staff members a multitude of experiences: Offer wellbeing sessions at lunch time or after work such as yoga or dance classes.
  • Communicate about flexible working: Work-life balance should be at the forefront by starting conversations about different ways of working whether this is through a staff webinar or a training session on the topic.
  • Train managing members of staff: Ensure that you train your managers on how to deal with flexible working requests and the skills they need to manage flexible or hybrid workers.
  • Express the importance of disconnecting: Ensure that you promote a culture of switching off devices or not dealing with work emails after work hours or when taking annual leave.

For more information contact Lauren Wood in our Employment & HR department via email or phone on 01772 220267. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.

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