Work-Life or Work Vs. Life Balance?
The title may sound a little odd, but, think about this - think about your work and think about your life. Is there a balance? Or does one win over the other?
According to SHRM, out of 38 countries, the United States is rated at #30 in work-life balance. Say what?! We're 30th place out of 38. Insane, right? In a way this makes us look behind the times, not innovative or with the times. It's also interesting to note that Millennials and Gen Z employees value work-life balance more than any other working generation. So if our working force in America values work-life so much, why is it that we still rank so low on the balance scale?
Thanks to the fast-paced society that is today, it is not uncommon to see employees working up to (if not more than) 50 hours a week, with barely any time for themselves outside of work. Work-life balance? More like, what work-life balance? This is why it can sometimes simply be a work versus life balance. What is more important? What does the employee value or need more?
While it may seem appealing to employers that employees are going above and beyond in their working hours, it's really not great for anyone involved. SHRM noted that "60% of participants reported low morale and 36% reported poor productivity" when working 50 or more hours a week. Not only does working long hours drain an employees' morale, productivity and creativity, think about the health hazards as well as the negative impact on their personal and social lives.
Thanks to an article by SFM, here are four tips for employers who need some inspiration to axe that work versus life and create a work-life balance:
1) Encourage time off. Employees don't take time off because they're nervous of disapproval from the employer. So, don't give them a hard time for taking a day, three days, a week away. Chances are, that employee really needs it.
2) Be flexible. Nothing really says work-life like flexibility. Personal life can interfere with work life so keep that in mind, and learn to add some flexibility.
3) Maintain technology and tools for the job. Basically, it's time to get with the times. Offer the opportunity for remote work. Offer to pay for a portion of the technology an employee uses for work plus home, i.e. cell phone, cell phone bill, or laptop.
4) Encourage and model a healthy work-life balance. From the top-down, encourage leaders to support all employees with a work-life balance. Chances are, when an employee sees or is encouraged by management, the more likely they are to actually create a work-life balance.
Moral of the story is, don't be a Bill Lumbergh (Office Space, anyone?), be a leader who encourages the health of their employee's life at the workplace and life outside of the workplace. It will go a long way, trust us.