Shahzad Qureshi (September 18, 2015)
The perfect work-life balance is created when people feel satisfied about the time division between work and leisure. If employees feel that work takes too much of their time, leaving only a few hours to spend with family, it creates a feeling of resentment.Low morale and alarmingly low satisfaction levels leads to lack of commitment, which means customer service reps would get tasks done just for the sake of fulfilling their responsibilities, just the bare minimum. In order to ensure high quality customer service experience, CSRs must give their 100%, which ensues out-of-the-box thinking and going an extra mile for customers.
Employers need to understand the importance of work-life balance for customer service employees and how it impacts the morale, retention and employee loyalty with the company.
Creating a work-life balance for customer service employees leaves a positive impact on the organization. Here is a look at some of the benefits for companies.
Ensure that your staff can find time for physical activities like sports, gym and regular exercise. These activities are likely to keep the workers healthy, fit and motivated. Numerous studies have indicated that regular physical activity reduces the incidence of depression and other mental illnesses. A healthy workforce translates into greater efficiency. Work-Life Balance is also about employees feeling they have time for pursuing their interests like reading, music, painting etc.
Furthermore, ensuring work-life balance also allows employees to grow, professionally and personally. CSRs are able to augment their professional skills by utilizing their free time, in addition to strengthening of positive outlook and character traits in terms of personality. More free time will also allow employees to enhance their qualifications and professional certifications – Part-time study program, online courses, Seminars and training workshops. The company is likely to benefit from the enhanced skills and qualifications in terms of better performance and efficiency. One of the most adverse effect, for companies, include high turnover rate as workers face burnouts and have to involuntarily quit or change careers if they are not satisfied with the work-life balance.
Maintaining work-life balance will help companies and aid their retention strategies. The company can build a reputation in the job market for offering favorable working hours and looking out for workers’ welfare, which is likely to attract the most talented and qualified candidates. If employees enjoy a healthy work-life balance, it is likely to create goodwill for the company. Companies will be able to retain employees for a long period of time. High retention rates will help the company avoid high recruitment, training and induction costs.
Employees benefit from long-term engagement with a single company, since it allows them to grow as they are promoted periodically based on pre-determined career trajectory. On the other hand, companies benefit from increased productivity and contribution of innovative ideas from the employees who are familiar with the company’s culture and professionally matured with experience and exposure.
Companies can also benefit from lower healthcare costs, since work-life balance entails employees getting sick less often. Several physical and mental illnesses are directly linked with stress level, hence, can be avoided by developing a stress free work environment.
As explained above, developing a healthy work-life balance warrants countless benefits for the company, as well as the customer service employees. Some of the ways through which this balance can be created is below:
Conventionally employees are required to clock-in the standard amount of hours they are required to work, an approach which does not take into account the amount of work done. An employee could have clocked-in more than the required number of hours, but might not have done any work. Companies need to move from time-based performance to task-based work assignments. Employees should be given flexibility, as long as deadlines are being met and the required tasks are completed on time.
Many companies don’t have a structured leave policy which creates confusion and ambiguity for employees. Human resource department should develop a leave policy which is comparable to that of other companies in the industry. Workers should be allotted casual and sick leaves that are paid.
An emerging trend in global work environment includes flexible work hours. Keeping this in perspective, employees are required to clock-in a certain number of hours and the flexible nature allows them to carry out other leisure activities without impacting the quality of work.
Managers should try to make the time spent at the workplace pleasant for employees by organizing various events and parties occasionally to keep up morale. This would also help workers take their minds off the monotonous work routine. The company could throw birthday parties for employees by buying lunch or organizing a party through mutual contribution. Additionally, other events could also be commemorated such as Christmas, Eid, Halloween and other festivals pertaining to local cultural and traditional norms.
It should be clearly stipulated in the employment contract that employees are required to take compulsory time-off once a year, since nobody can be expected to work all year round. Time off allows workers to take vacations or deal with family commitments. Additionally, companies can facilitate workers’ vacation plan by offering financing or discounted packages.
Work-from-home is fast becoming a popular phenomenon in the corporate world. Unlike freelance work, work from home option comes with all the perks of a long-term employment with the company, but workers are allowed to complete their assigned tasks from home. This option works for those customer service employees who don’t have to interact with customers face to face. CSRs’ who are replying to emails or interacting with customers via social media or video conferencing can benefit from this option.
Moreover, work from home option allows employees to avoid long commutes, which helps them save time and fuel cost.
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