Any business owner will know that effective employee management is crucial for the health of their business – so it’s no surprise that the internet is full of advice designed to help entrepreneurs achieve this goal. You can read advice on how to increase employee engagement, how to ensure your employees are happy, how to guarantee that their health is maintained – but a way of making your employees’ lives easier is far more difficult to find.
In truth, it’s easy to understand why this would be the case. For a business owner, it’s easy to assume that making your employees’ lives easier would be detrimental to the business; most of us associate the word “easy” with essentially meaning “less” – so it’s natural to conclude that if your employees’ working lives were easier, they would be less productive. However, this isn’t the case.
Why should you try to make your employees working lives easier?
Focusing on making your employees lives easier is just another way to improve their working lives, and it has long been recognised that ensuring employees’ are happy and confident is a great way to ensure maximum productivity. Easier does not have to mean less effective or less productive; it just means focusing on lowering stress, making things simpler, and striving for efficiency. Ultimately, if your employees’ lives are more comfortable, your business will function more effectively.
If you’re curious to see the benefits of making your employees lives easier in action, then here are four ideas you might want to try.
#1 – Allow your employees to work from home
While some businesses – such as retail stores – simply cannot allow employees to work from home, the vast majority of modern businesses can. If your workers spend the majority of their day simply using a computer to complete their assigned work, then there’s no reason – given the technological advancements of the past few years – not to let employees work remotely every once in a while.
For employees, working remotely allows them to avoid some of the most challenging issues working life can present: for example, working from home means no commute, no office politics, no need to adhere to a dress code, no distractions from colleagues, and so on. With these stressors removed, your employees’ working lives will inevitably become far, far easier.
If, like most employers, the idea of allowing your employees to work from home more often is concerning, then it’s worth noting that a Gallup study found that remote workers tend to log more hours, and are more engaged, than their office-based counterparts – and many other studies have shown similar results. Furthermore, not only do remote workers tend to perform well, but having fewer staff on your premises is likely to be beneficial for your business in terms of energy usage, which could result in lower bills.
Given the above, it’s worth experimenting by allowing trusted employees to work from home on occasion, then evaluating the results. If you’re unhappy with the outcome of the experiment, the impact on your business will be relatively small. However, if all goes well, you can then extend the possibility of remote working to more of your employees in future.
#2 – Simplify your staff scheduling
Scheduling employee working hours is something that should be simple, but can quickly unravel with little to no warning. Scheduling conflicts, multiple holiday requests, and confusion can take a basic schedule and turn it into an clumsy hotchpotch of data that no one truly feels can be relied upon.
It’s important to remember that, for employees, their working schedule is not just about their working lives – it dictates everything. It dictates the time they will spend with their family, when they run errands, when they will arrange to take a vacation, and much more besides. If employees have to work unexpectedly to cover an absence, or feel that their schedule is too unpredictable to allow them to plan other aspects of their life, then their entire life is affected – and, as a result, becomes far more difficult.
The only way to prevent employees struggling against a schedule is to implement complete schedule management, which is usually best achieved by visiting the likes of GetSling and exploring platforms that are dedicated to simplifying your scheduling once and for all. Your employees will then be able to trust that their work schedule will always be effectively managed, alleviating stress and ensuring they can organize their lives effectively – much to the benefit of their overall performance at work.
#3 – Keep meetings to a minimum
Meetings are a natural part of the business landscape, and many a business guide will insist that meetings are crucial if you wish to run your business correctly. However, there’s a significant downside to workplace meetings: employees tend to find them interminable.
The simple truth is that while meetings can be useful, meetings for the sake of meetings are nothing but disruptive to your employees’ working day. Rather than working to complete essential tasks, employees have to rearrange their schedule to accommodate the meeting, which can disrupt their entire workflow. Essentially, meetings create more problems than they are likely to solve, and your employees’ working lives become exponentially more difficult as a result of continually needing to be in attendance.
As revolutionary as it might sound, the simple reality is that the fewer meetings you have, the easier your employees’ lives are going to be. If you are tempted to schedule a meeting, or a meeting is requested by one of your managers, then it is always worth pausing and asking if a meeting is really necessary. When deciding the answer to this question, think about the goal of the meeting: do you need to bring multiple people together to discuss an issue that will affect the business going forward, or do you just need to impart information? If the latter is the only reason the meeting is necessary, then simply communicate with your staff via email or messaging platforms instead.
#4 – Establish a firm set of rules for every aspect of your employees’ working lives
The idea of rules making life easier for your employees is likely to be a strange one; after all, the majority of people see rules as complications, problems, issues that have to be navigated.
However, for employees, a firm set of rules as to what is and is not acceptable actually helps to make their working life far more straightforward. There’s no need for guesswork, no need to ask other employees for their opinion; there’s just a firm, clear distinction between what is and isn’t allowed.
To communicate these rules to your employees, it’s usually best to set up an employee handbook, which should then be regularly updated whenever a new rule needs to be added, or an existing rule amended. These rules should cover everything, from the employee dress code, to rules for office kitchen etiquette to whether employees are allowed to have their smartphone on their desks while working – anything and everything that impacts how your employees work should be included. Your employees will appreciate the clarity, and will enjoy the fact that they know where they stand without having to guess or ask direct questions.
If you implement any of the ideas above, your employees’ lives will be simpler, more straightforward, and simply easier to manage, so you can be confident they are always able to focus more of their time and energy on completing their work effectively.