Work-life balance is a big deal. But technology has been steadily eroding the strict barriers between work and the rest of our lives. It starts with everyone taking their laptops home and maybe spending an evening catching up with work. Once other employees or clients have your phone number, you might be answering calls or responding to texts. After a while, it can feel like there is no separation between life and work except the location.

But this increased time doesn’t increase the output. It also makes employee satisfaction drop like a stone. Unfortunately, it’s easy for offices to allow or even encourage the practice. Here’s how to make sure your employees get a break:

1. Use a good VoIP system that automates off hours.

When your employees use their laptops as their phones, that’s great for convenient calls. But that also means employees can’t easily avoid calls when they need to. So look for a VoIP system that is easily customizable.

Everyone can program their ‘in-office’ hours and when messages go straight to voicemail. Many tools can be set to forward calls to a mobile phone without disclosing that new phone number. This mix of customizability and security lets employees manage their work-life balance by taking the occasional evening call without opening the door for more.

2. Standardize check-ins to prevent deadline rushes.

Projects rarely get finished before they’re scheduled to. But if the deadline is making your team panic, then something has gone wrong. Either the project was bigger than it seemed, or last-minute changes are piling on the stress. Make sure all of the managers and team leads have open lines of communication so people can comfortably say when a deadline isn’t going to be met.

Unless the deadline is written in stone by federal or state regulation, don’t have your employees stay late in the evenings multiple days in a row.

3. When overtime is unavoidable, make up the off-time.

Overtime happens. With the holidays on the horizon, it’s going to be happening a lot. So your office needs to do the best it can to both prepare for that and arrange for modifiable scheduling. To help keep work-life balance healthy, don’t surprise employees with over-time. And keep track of the extra hours so you can give those hours back once the rush is over. Employees may not be happy to be stuck in the office now, but future fairness can stop resentment from building up.

Go to Tangram Studios for more ways to design your office’s logistics and setup.