If you have employees who are also raising families, you understand that work-life balance is a priority to them. Workers who feel that they can't accommodate a personal and social life on top of handling all job-related tasks will start to feel dissatisfied, which can create problems for you and your human resource consulting firm.
Additionally, individuals who have poor work-life balance may also be prone to sleeping problems. This can create another set of issues if their lack of sleep causes them to be sluggish and less productive at work.
Fortunately, there are solutions. One team of researchers from Oregon Health & Science University evaluated an intervention strategy for the workplace that led to better work-life balance, as well as improve sleeping habits, among study participants, as published in the journal Sleep Health.
'Sleep benefits were observed'
To address conflicts that some employees feel between their work life and family life, the researchers developed the Work, Family, and Health Network Study intervention, and tested it on an information technology firm. It starts with a three-month training program in which employees and managers participate in facilitated discussions, role-playing and games. These exercises were designed to make managers more knowledgeable about how to handle work-family conflict among employees.
During the next 12 months, results of this intervention were collected through qualitative interviews as well as data from actigraphy devices for the writs, which tracked waking and sleeping habits. Results showed that participants in the intervention experienced less conflict in work-life balance. Additionally, compared to individuals who did not go through the program, participants gained an average of one additional hour of sleep per week.
"Increasing family-supportive supervision and employee control over work time benefited the sleep of hundreds of employees, and even greater effects may be possible if sleep is overtly addressed in workplace interventions," lead author Ryan Olson, Ph.D., of Oregon Health & Science University, said in a statement. "The Work, Family, and Health Network Study intervention was designed to reduce work-family conflict. It did not directly address sleep, yet sleep benefits were observed."
Onsite programs may also help
To provide additional help to your workforce, you may want to consider onsite wellness programs that provide education on good sleeping habits. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, people should ideally not consume alcohol or stimulants within eight hours of bedtime. It also helps to create a routine to help relax at the end of the day, and to sleep in a bedroom free of distractions, such as bright screens from smartphones, computers or television sets.