We certainly talk about “work-life” more than ever these days. Be it in the context of balance, conflict or that elusive end goal: integration. But how far have we really come in helping work and life function better together?
Here’s what the most compelling research of 2017 has to say.
The Importance of Work-Life Balance to Employees Today:
- According to Gallup’s State of the American Workplace 2017, 53 percent of employees say a role that allows them to have greater work-life balance and better personal well-being is “very important” to them.
- According to the global 2017 Randstad Employer Brand Research report, after an attractive salary and long-term job security (58 percent and 46 percent, respectively), 45 percent of surveyed employees note good work-life balance as an important attribute in gauging the attractiveness of an organization.
How Employers Rate Themselves at Helping Employees Achieve Work-Life Balance:
- Twenty-three percent of companies surveyed in the 2017 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends feel that they are excellent in helping employees balance personal and professional life/work demands. That’s a 21 percent change from 2016, when 19 percent of companies surveyed felt like they were doing an excellent job.
The State of Work-Life in the Financial Services Industry, Specifically:
- In a survey commissioned by Kronos Incorporated, conducted by Future Workplace, employees reported what they had given up to work in the financial services industry. The top answers were work-life balance (36 percent) and flexibility (23 percent). Millennials and Gen Zers were especially sensitive to this loss with 83 percent feeling as through they’d given up work-life balance (as opposed to 29 percent of Baby Boomers).
How Critical Flexible Work Arrangements Are to the Work-Life Struggle (for those with and without children):
- While working parents consistently put high value in flexible working arrangements (80 percent of say work-life balance matters when considering a job), workers without children want it, too. A 2017 FlexJobs Survey of 2,200 employees without children found that the number one reason for a flexible work arrangement was better work-life balance (79 percent).
- The same survey also found that work-life balance won out over both salary and flexible schedule as the most important factor when evaluating a job prospect. Work-life balance came in at 72 percent, with salary at 70 percent and flexible schedule at 65 percent.
How American Employees are Using (or not using) Their Vacation Time:
- Project Time-Off’s 2017 Under-Vacationed America Report found that despite the improvement over the last two years, there are still 54 percent of Americans who did not use all their vacation time last year. These workers left a collective 662 million vacation days on the table—days that carry significant economic potential. If Americans were to use that vacation time, it would generate $128 billion in direct spending, and an overall economic impact of $236 billion for the U.S. economy.
Working Dads and Work-Life:
- Regardless of how dads were classified (as “egalitarian, divided or traditional” in their parenting role) in the 2017 Boston College Center for Work & Family’s Study: The New Dad: The Career-Caregiving Conflict, researchers found that ALL working dads want more time with their children. And that is across all generations, from Millennials to Gen X to Baby Boomers.
- The same study found that approximately 30 to 45 percent of working dads agreed or strongly agreed that at their workplaces it is assumed that the most productive employees are those who put their work before family life.
- And roughly 50 to 60 percent of the surveyed working dads agreed or strongly agreed that to get ahead at their organization, employees are expected to work more than 50 hours/week.
Millennials and Work-Life:
- Eighty percent of those surveyed in the 2017 Deloitte Millennial Survey reported that organizations that allow for highly flexible work arrangements has a very/fairly positive impact on their overall work-life balance. That’s nearly twice as much a positive impact vs. those organizations with low deployment of flexible work arrangements.
- The same survey found that 82 percent express a positive impact on overall wellbeing, health and happiness, and an 81 percent impact on their productivity when their employer fosters an environment of flexibility.
While progress has been made, the work-life conflict remains a major issue for both employees and employers around the world. The overall health, wellbeing and productivity of our workforce continues to be impacted by this struggle. As the conversation continues, flexibility reigns supreme, emerging as one of the best ways employers can help their employees better manage conflicting demands. And the more employers can do to shift perspectives and remove stigma surrounding outdated notions of work-life, the better. Be it through leadership modeling healthy integration, or creating company cultures that reinforce the importance of quality of life both inside and outside the office.
Lastly, the more employers expand their benefits and policies to include comprehensive paid leave options, a diverse menu of need-driven health programs, as well as supportive family care choices, the stronger their ability to help their employees – and boost the bottom line as a result.
HR Leaders Also Read:
- The Cost of Care: Highlights from 2017 Survey Results
- What You Need to Know from the Leading Work-Life Research Centers (in five minutes or less)
- How Employers Can Help Employees Beat the Back to School Care Jitters
- Keep the Love Alive: Managing Stress Before It Impacts Performance
- Our Employees Shouldn’t Have to Improvise to Make Life Work