Work Life Balance Initiatives for 2022 

March 2022

As a HR leader you are in a unique position to help employees find a work life balance or rhythm that feels right for them. Using the term ‘work life balance’ can infer a 50/50 split and, for some employees, this is not what they are looking for. 


More recently terms like ‘work life rhythm’ or ‘work life harmony’ have been used to describe the synergy between work and home life. Everyone will have different priorities and HR can support them in finding the right amount of room in their week to engage with them. 

  1. The global working world has undergone a significant shift across the pandemic. Remote working was the norm for office based employees. Instead of returning to the office on a full time basis, many businesses are embracing hybrid working. If your organisation is one of those, there are still work life balance considerations to take into account. 
  3. Although hybrid working offers advantages to many employees, from a work life rhythm perspective it can raise the same challenges as fully remote working. Research conducted during the pandemic found employees in the UK, Canada and Austria were spending an extra 2.5 hours at work every day. While this may have abated with the relaxation of restrictions, it is something that is worth checking on within your business. If your department want to put more work life balance initiatives in place in 2022, it is worthwhile starting with some basic groundwork: 

1. Survey employees about their work life balance/rhythm

Focus your efforts with a survey that asks employees how they feel their work life balance is at the moment. The survey results should help you prioritise where people require assistance. 


2. Communicate with employees regularly

Communication is key, particularly as employees navigate the new hybrid working world. As a HR department ensure you have a robust communications plan outlining how you will keep in touch with employees on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. This is particularly important as 86% of employees believe workplace failures are caused by lack of or ineffective communication.  


3. Provide counselling services

It is likely that some employees are going to struggle at different points in their career. Provide them with support through an employee or expat assistance programme (EAP). Communicate that EAP’s are not only for stress or mental health issues, they can also get support with financial concerns, family issues and a whole host of life’s challenges. 


4. Find your own work life harmony 

As a HR leader it is important to practice what you preach by finding your own work life balance. It’s difficult for you to encourage others to make space for everything they have happening in their lives if you are not living the principal. 


Once your organisation has the basics in place, it is time to work on building in some work life balance initiatives that have been shown to be successful:


1. Flexible working

Flexible working allows employees some say in choosing their hours of work and the freedom to change schedules from one week to another based on their personal needs. Under flexible working arrangements an employee may be required to work a fixed number of core hours e.g. 10am - 3pm but offer flexibility around start and end times. A global study of employees in 2021 showed that most are looking for flexible working arrangements so this initiative may also play a critical role in your employee retention strategy. 


2. Establishing working hour boundaries

In conjunction with flexible working it is important to encourage employees to set clear boundaries for when they are working and when they are not. This can be done in a number of ways:

• Include your working hours in communication apps like Slack, Teams etc.

• Add a line to your email signature “I am sending this email at a time that works for me. I do not expect an immediate response”.

• Encourage people to leave responses in communications apps when it suits them but ensure they are clear they cannot expect an immediate response.


3. Flexible leave policies 

Some businesses are combining employees' paid leave into flexible leave policies so rather than having separate holiday and sick leave, paid days are totalled and employees can use them across the year as they see fit. Your businesses ability to implement a policy like this may be restricted by employment law in the country your organisation operates in but it is something to consider.


4. Training managers to support employees

Team or line managers across your organisation are the people on the ground when it comes to employee work life balance. They are likely to see when employees are working long days, appear fatigued or are showing signs of burnout. Provide managers with access to training courses to recognise signs to look out for and most importantly arm them with tools to assist a team member who may be struggling.


5. Offer volunteer days

Enable employees to work with colleagues doing something that gives back to the community on company time with volunteer days. Not only is this good for the employees work life balance but it is an excellent team building exercise and shows that your business cares about the community around it. Volunteer days could be spent working with a charity related to the work you do or offering your services to do something completely different.


6. Provide educational support

Show your employees that you care by supporting them when it comes to further study. If they show an interest in a course related to their career try to offer tuition assistance or study time off for formal training. Or encourage employees to share their knowledge in house with ‘lunch and learn’ or similar initiatives.


7. Start a social committee

If you do not already have one, encourage teams to set up a social committee tasked with organising non-work related activities. These kinds of activities help with team building and boosting morale. Just some ideas they could work on include:

• Potluck lunch

• Baking competitions

• Seasonal parties

• Escape rooms

• Quiz nights

• Boardgames

All of which will provide employees with the chance to step away from their desks and do something completely different for a while. This is likely to not only improve work life balance but also positively impact productivity. 


These are just some of the ways your business can help employees find the work life balance or rhythm that works best for them in 2022. 


Although supporting employee work life balance may require some work, providing overseas employees with access to private healthcare is easier than you might think. International health insurance offers different levels of support depending on your business size and provides employees with access to a multi-lingual expat assistance service should they need it.