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Work-Life Balance: Myth or Must Have?

The term work-life balance has been thrown around for years. But is there any legitimacy behind such a concept and if so, how can one truly achieve it?

Why is work-life balance important?

For starters, there’s plenty of data to show how a poor work-life balance can have a negative impact at work. Respondents who reported a poor work-life balance showed the following:

  • 36% poor productivity
  • 68% poor morale
  • 41% high turnover
  • 41% feeling burnt-out/fatigued

In a 2018 Morning Consult survey, participants were asked the question: “thinking about your own work experiences, how important, if at all, is having the flexibility to balance work and family needs?”

Seventy-two percent of respondents answered, “very important.” This is an astounding majority of people who consider work-life balance a very important factor. Why does this matter? As the battle for talent grows more competitive, employers must have a deeper understanding of what employees value to inform the policies of their workplaces to better attract and retain quality employees.

What is a work-life balance?

Before we can determine if a true work-life balance is achievable, let’s first define the term. When you look up the term work-life balance, you’ll find a myriad of definitions that essentially point to the balance of work with other aspects of life. Sounds simple, right? What may seem simple in definition is not quite as simple in application.

What work-life balance means to one person might vastly differ from what it means to someone else. This could explain why work-life balance has remained a term just thrown around or a myth to most.

For some employees, the importance of work-life balance comes from the challenge of being a working parent. For others, a work-life balance involves taking time for physical and mental breaks.

How can we achieve work-life balance?

If meaning and achievability varies by person, it begs the question, “what commonality would make the concept of work-life balance obtainable for an organization?” One might argue that flexibility is the answer.

Now we are getting somewhere.

Could it be that flexibility is the primary vehicle to achieving work-life balance? Have we been overlooking the one thing that could help us turn this myth into an employee/employer must have?

Some companies are providing flexibility by offering flexible schedules and allowing employees to work remotely. According to a PGi Global Telework Survey, 60% of remote workers would leave their current job for a full-time remote position with the same pay. As technology changes, it is becoming easier for employees to stay connected regardless of where they work.

What strategies, if any, are being deployed at your company that provides the flexibility that 72% of employees are seeking? Does your benefits package incorporate opportunities for employees to obtain a work-life balance? Do you have the resources for and commitment to providing work-life balance in your organization?

Contact your OneDigital strategist to discover how you can create a corporate culture that enables employees to have a work-life balance.