The last quarter of 2018 is shaping up to be a worker-friendly time for employees, with the Lower House passing bills expanding maternity leave and 10-day annual incentive leave with pay. But perhaps the highlight for most is the approval of House Bill 6152 or the “Condensed Work Week” bill, a policy that aims to lessen the working days of employees. Since the Philippine Labor Code requires employees to render 40 to 48 hours per week, those who opt for this policy will now have to work 10 to 12 hours a day. They will also receive overtime pay if they work beyond 48 hours a week, and are entitled to up to three days off.
Although the primary reason for enacting the bill is to help ease the traffic problem in Metro Manila, no one can deny the advantages it can have for advocating work-life balance in the office.
HR’s Role in Promoting Work-Life Balance
Work-life balance is an important aspect of a healthy work environment, Forbes says. But it is important to note that we, as HR professionals, are not responsible for ensuring employees maintain equilibrium between the two. Our role is merely to support or assist employees in seeking their own balance. And to do that, we need to understand what “work-life” balance means to each employee. The least you can do is offer different choices that would appeal to workers. In the larger scheme of things, the options you provide will help you recruit and retain top-performing employees.
There’s still quite a ways to go for “work from home” in the private sector to become a reality, with House Bill No. 7402 or the Telecommuting Act just passing its third reading. The closest we can get to a truly flexible working arrangement is giving employees an alternative to the 9 to 6 routine. Having control over their schedule lets employees freely pursue their interests and take care of their needs outside of company time.
According to Investopedia, high absenteeism rates due to stress and illness leads to an annual cost of $84 billion. Aside from the basic health insurance, employers can ask workers what they want to improve with their wellness. The more athletic members of your team might be motivated by free gym memberships and healthy snacks, while senior employees may appreciate more comprehensive healthcare coverages.
Childcare Service Allowances
Parents working for your company know that their childcare duties don’t stop when they leave home every morning. These individuals may be more grateful for a family-friendly work environment. American Express, for example, has a back-up daycare service attached to the side of their office, and their employees find it very useful. But if you don’t have the space or budget for an onsite childcare facility, simply giving your employees childcare service allowances instead of food and clothing bonuses will go a long way.
Socialization between employees in a non-stressful capacity is a great way to make everyone feel right at home in the office. After a week of hard work, organize a fun event or activity that everyone can enjoy. Depending on your company culture, it can be something as simple as movie nights or as extravagant as formal dinners. Preferences may differ, so make sure to vary activities and get feedback from your workers.
To help everyone accomplish a reasonable work-life balance, leaders and HR practitioners need to model this practice themselves. Showing that you respect the boundary between life and career sends a positive message to employees.