How to Manage Work-Life Balance in an Agile Workplace?

The remote and work-from-anywhere culture associated with agile working was set to establish a better work-life balance for employees and allow certain freedoms and flexibility unavailable in a regular 9-to-5 work environment. But while organisations are adopting flexible working at before unseen rates, official policies defining work-life balance are lagging.

The fluid nature of agile working means that it can be interpreted broadly: unclear boundaries on when to start or when to stop working. So, a solution that was introduced to help with employee satisfaction might have the complete opposite effect – the burnout and unengaged employees that become victims of an always on culture.

To effectively utilise the benefits of an agile workplace, organisations need to address these issues and create solid work-life balance guidelines for their employees.


Why Do We Focus on Work-Life Balance?

The workplace has undergone a massive transformation in the past couple of years. The Great Resignation, the global pandemic, the transition to hybrid and agile working and most recently, Quiet Quitting, have changed the way we work and think about work. During this shift, the need for better work-life balance has been dominating the conversation.  

Work-life balance is an important aspect of a healthy work environment. While we’re expected to be dedicated, hard-working and reliable in our jobs, not knowing when to stop and separate your professional life from your personal life could have a massive impact on your productivity and engagement levels. But how do you juggle and separate the two? The clear-cut separation is not necessarily achievable – we might worry about personal things at work or worry about work things at home. However, it’s important to sustain a healthy balance.

Work-life balance covers how people manage their time at work and home. Maintaining this balance helps reduce stress and helps prevent burnout in the workplace. It also creates a more well-rounded workforce and increases company loyalty and productivity.

A recent study of agile organisations revealed that only 3% of agile workers are satisfied with the work-life balance. This number is a striking example of how the idea of flexible working and its benefits need to be evaluated in practice and follow up on the effects it has on the workplace rather than assume it’s been successfully implemented.


Dangers of Agile Working

Agile working, in practice, is still in its infancy. While hybrid working has taken the world by storm during the global pandemic, other flexible working solutions such as agile working and remote working are coming into play. Benefits of agile working include flexibility to organisations and employees, focusing on outcomes and goals rather than the time or location of work.

To discover more of the benefits agile working brings to workplaces, read the blog here!

But agile working is not a magical cure, nor is it without faults or possible dangers. Organisations that are looking to create an agile workforce should first consider:

  • Always onculture: flexible working arrangements and not clocked working hours means that some workers end up working 24/7. Always on culture uncovers the dangers of unhealthy working patterns and the lack of work-life balance.
  • Feeling isolated: without relevant technology or company-wide practices to include agile workers, organisations are risking making their employees feel isolated and not heard. The right technology will help people connect and interact and will increase productivity.
  • Missing out on company culture: organisations spend a lot of time and money to build on their unique set of values and promote a certain company culture to their employees. Working remotely limits that exposure, adding to them feeling isolated.

Work-life balance and official policies can drastically improve employee well-being. Establishing a culture of openness and trust can drastically change the attitudes within the agile workplace. Organisations must address the issues and create a well-thought of strategy to encourage work-life balance.


How to Improve Work-Life Balance in an Agile Workplace?

A survey, which was conducted by Workplace Trends, found that 67% of HR professionals reported that their employees are achieving work-life balance, while only 45% of their employees reported the same.

There are ways to bridge the gap between the organisation and the employee, ensuring a healthy work-life balance:  

  • Encourage employee suggestions: agile workplaces should consider having an open conversation with their employees and fostering healthy communication to define a better work-life balance policy.
  • Lead by example from the top down: enforcing company values that encompass work-life balance benefits should come from managers and directors leading by example. Showing a good example will trickle down to every single employee no doubt.  
  • Encourage time off: holidays are legally required for a reason but more importantly, time off allows workers to switch off, renew their energy and charge up on creative and critical thinking.
  • Allow short breaks during the day: Changing your working environment just for 20 minutes can increase your productivity levels by up to 31%. Health experts recommend stepping away from the desk for 15 minutes every 90 minutes to stay focused and engaged!
  • Offer health and well-being benefits: well-being benefits such as free gym or yoga classes or mindfulness training could greatly improve employees’ mindset, further encouraging a healthy work-life balance.
  • Trust: trust and open communication may allow your employees to start a conversation about their struggles and possible changes that agile organisations could address instantly. Flexible working focuses on goals rather than work hours and physical locations; fostering trust and openness will allow the employee to not feel guilty for taking an extra break for their wellbeing.


Agile working has opened the door to flexibility that most of the working world wants and needs. At the same time, the broadly defined strategies have created other issues such as always on culture and wide burnout.

Work-life balance is one of the most important concerns, goals and elements in the modern workplace. It encourages employees to take their personal wellbeing into consideration and balance professional growth without risking burn out and disengagement. Agile working can highly contribute to satisfying employees by giving them more freedom and flexibility, but it only can be achieved by creating a clear strategy from the top, implemented by HR, managers and team leaders.

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