We live in a world where change is fast and we can’t control it. Life is stressful and sometimes we feel powerless. Families that were once around the corner, are often either fractured or distant. Even marriage isn’t the reliable safety net that it once was. We are richer than ever before and we buy more goods than any other generation, and yet statistics keep showing that we are unhappier than ever.

As a small business owner you will be working on average 63% more than other workers. Nobody ever became a business owner so they could avoid working hard.

Running your own business stretches anybody’s work-life balance to the absolute limit. And it has emerged that micro-business owners are working an average of 52 hours a week, 63 per cent longer than the average worker.

Many micro business owners are both time and cash-strapped, they need to make the most of every day because the amount of time being squeezed into the working week is enormous.‚ π

“Tension is who you think you should be. Relaxation is who you are.” Chinese Proverb

When you started up in business and thought about the perfect workplace, what came to mind? For some it may be an office that is full of chitter chatter, smiles and high levels of productivity. Others may see it as employee’s sitting around on beanbags brainstorming ideas in an open office environment. There are some that see a perfect workplace as quiet order with work being done. For me it was everything that I didn’t like in places I had already worked ‚ ¨ I wanted my work place to be fun, challenging, encouraging, developmental and with abundance of respect and loyalty. I don’t go to work to be miserable so why should others‚ π

As a small business owner you can be at the mercy of your employees. You cannot after all control how your employee’s get up each day or choose their attitude or how their day will pan out. This unknown can cause difficulties in a workplace as the different personality types, outside experiences, and choices a person makes can ultimately effect others.

What we can do however is nurture a workplace that many often dream about. From my experience of workplace’s and as a small business owner myself, I have put together 8 tips to build that mythic, dreamed about, idealized workplace from the ground up.

Essentially however, in my opinion, as a business owner the best way to get a dream work place is – treat others as you would have them treat you

Tip number Five

Be a Family Friendly workplace.

While this is often more difficult for Small Business Owners, think creatively. Perhaps you close down your offices between Christmas and New Years and the week of Easter. This is not considered personal time off from their holiday allowance, just work-life balance. Investigate local health clubs and deals to encourage health and wellness.

Put family first. Be flexible. Perhaps employees can work from home or shift hours to spend time with the children each day or go to school. Having policies that encourage a work/life balance can benefit your employees while still allowing your business needs to be met.

Here are some options to consider:

  • Part time hours: offering reduced-hour working weeks (less than 38 hours).
  • Flexible hours: allowing staff to work earlier or later in the day.
  • Compressed hours: working four days a week instead of five by working longer hours.
  • Job sharing: where two or more people on part-time hours share one full-time job.
  • Teleworking: where staff work from home, mobile offices or public places.
  • Paid Parental Leave: includes adoption leave. Minimum entitlements for Paid Parental Leave apply to all employees in Australia.
  • Family/carers leave: allowing for leave to be taken when a family emergency occurs.
  • Purchased leave: allowing your staff to get extra leave by reducing their annual salary.
  • Unpaid leave for school holidays: allowing staff with school-aged children to take unpaid leave during school holidays.
  • Talking to employees about leave policies: this is a great way to find out what your employees value in a family-friendly workplace.
  • Subsidies for childcare
  • Return to work support: offering programs that help employees return to work after extended leave, including Keep in Touch days.
  • Allowing parents to return to the same job