In the New Economy, Do We Have Work-Life Balance?
As with many workplace issues, corporations and employees do not always have the same perspective, and therefore, do not always agree. And, as you might imagine, with issues around work-life balance employers and employees aren’t in agreement.
Work Life Balance. In a survey from CareerArc and WorkplaceTrends.com, they report that approximately 67% of HR representatives believe that their employees have achieved that delicate balance between work and home life. However, in contrast, their employees actually believe the opposite. Indeed, 45% of employees report that they do not have enough time to manage all of their personal activities, like clean their homes, exercise, or go to the physician, etc.
Why is there such a differential between employer and employee perspectives? As it turns out, most employers expect that their employees will be available outside of work hours. For example, according to the above survey, approximately 64% of managers anticipate that their employees will be reachable outside of the workplace, 18% by email, 3% by telephone and 26% by both email and telephone. And, employees do what their employers want – employees report that they spent over 20 hours a week working on corporate matters when outside of the office.
So, what will help? How can employers and employees come together on the issue of work-life balance? To address employees’ concerns, most corporations are now helping to see that their employees have a more balanced life outside of work. To do that, most corporations are moving towards making their workplaces more flexible – employers are beginning to permit employees to work from home and from other places as long as projects are successfully accomplished. As the survey notes, when there is such flexibility, HR managers report that employees are happier and more engaged with their work. From the corporate perspective, flexibility creates happier employees and increased employee retention. Indeed, as the study reports, 75% of employees assert that flexibility is a top employee benefit.
In recognizing that workplace flexibility is among the keys to keeping all employees happy and loyal to the organization, most corporations have endeavored to create programs and positions that can include increased flexibility. Additionally, along with that, to keep employees happy beyond work-life balance issues, corporations will have to continue to push into areas of organizational development that do not naturally seem comfortable, but, that give employees the opportunity to show purpose and social conscience.