In a world where employees can never seem to disconnect from work, work-life balance is becoming an increasingly popular benefit that helps businesses stand out as progressive and human.

While the idea of encouraging employees to focus inward seems like a recipe for failure, employees who practice self care are happier, more focused, and ultimately, more productive.

Why is Self Care So Important?

Let’s face it. Work can be stressful. Really stressful. A recent study by The American Institute of Stress shows that an overwhelming 80% of employees say they feel work-related stress. Half of study participants reported that they needed help in learning how to manage stress.

Fortunately, these concerning trends can change for the better. That’s because companies like yours can play an integral role in reducing workplace stress by promoting self care as part of your culture. From asking employees to unplug to hosting mindfulness classes in the office, these ideas will encourage your employees to value and prioritize personal wellness.

Actively Support Standard Work Hours

Adopting standard work hours is a community effort. Unless you give them the go-ahead to leave after an 8-hour work day, your employees will assume that work doesn’t end until they’re told to head home. Add expected working hours to your company handbook, so there’s no confusion about when work ends. Additionally, you should train your leadership team to let their team members know that it’s okay to call it a day after they’ve put their time in.

A woman practicing self care at work

Stock the Office Kitchen with Healthy Snacks

Show your team that there are better ways to stay nourished during the day than scarfing down vending machine potato chips between meetings. Invest in healthy food options that are accessible to your employees whenever they’re in need of sustenance. By providing employees with free, healthy food like fruit, granola, and jerky, you’ll help them develop good eating habits that could extend off the clock.

Offer Flex Scheduling Options

Self care isn’t easy when appointments for doctors and counselors can only be squeezed in on the weekends without having to use a paid day off. Not to mention, recurring events like college classes and children’s day school can be nearly impossible to accommodate when paired with rigid work hours. If your business can thrive regardless of employees’ working hours, consider allowing them to choose what times of the day are best for them.  

Launch a Company-Wide Wellness Program

Show that your company values self care by establishing a wellness program that promotes good choices in the office that can easily translate to life at home. Your wellness program can consist of offerings that include onsite yoga and meditation classes, team walking and running challenges, and healthy cooking competitions. Round up a group of fitness gurus in the office to come up with creative ways to champion self care.

Employees practicing self care through a company wellness program yoga class

Encouraging the Practice of Unplugging

Letting employees know that work can wait when it comes to the weekends starts with your managers. If managers are emailing and texting their team members throughout the weekend, they’re depriving them of the personal and family time they need to start their next week feeling rested and refreshed. That’s not to say, some team members enjoy tagging in on Saturday afternoons, but let that be their choice and not a cultural obligation.

Support the Day-to-Day Needs of Working Parents  

From school and daycare to special activities and doctors’ appointments, juggling responsibilities between work and home is particularly challenging for parents who care for young children. Recognize the moms and dads who spend their valuable time and talents to your business by giving them the flexible schedules and work from home days they need to give their very best on and off the clock.

A parent with flexible working hours reading to his daughter

Implement a Mandatory Vacation Policy

Americans have become so work-crazed that some companies are beginning to enforce mandatory vacation policies so that days reserved for rest and leisure are used for just that. Mandatory vacation helps employees avoid workplace burnout, increase productivity, and return to the office fresh off new and exciting experiences that can inspire their work.

Recognize Hard Work with Meaningful Rewards

Celebrate the launch of major projects by inviting employees to treat themselves. Giftogram employee gift cards allow employees to indulge in whatever it is that self care means to them. From massages and air travel to restaurants and shopping, Giftogram offers hundreds of ways to kick back, dine out, jet set - whatever happiness and relaxation look like to your employees.