A work life balance has become a growing priority in today’s generation of workers. Although people have been trying to attain it throughout the decades, with today’s innovative technology and changes in the working culture it is more possible now more than ever for employees to balance their careers with their personal life. In a report written by Justworks an HR software developer, a survey conducted on 314 small business employees say has revealed that 70% of them believed that having a flexible work schedule is “very important” requirement and are willing to be paid 10% less if the job they’re applying for offers more workplace flexibility. Though it would seem that offering workers more flexibility in their current positions would have a negative impact on the working performance it has been shown that it actually improves it as it is shown that workers who get plenty of breaks and more time off on average perform better at work as opposed to workers who work long hours because they’re not being mentally drained by working for so long and so their minds are more refreshed and active increasing overall productivity in the work place. One could argue that the work life of East-Asian societies however seem to contradict this idea however the societal culture of those nations also play a part in their working culture which is why countries like South Korea and Japan are relatively prosperous despite having longer work days then the average American.
Managers now know that a more productive workforce are not the ones that necessarily work the longest hours but put in the most effort in the time that have which could be a lot shorter in comparison. Workers now are getting more paid time off and taking advantage of more workplace flexibility options then before as the priorities of the working class in America, Canada and the EU have shifted more towards finding time to spend with family and friends and engaging in other social activities or hobbies they enjoy. A healthy balance between the two helps employees perform better at work and in this day and age if employers want to attract the most talent to their business they must be able to provide their employees with a work schedule that offers a balance between work and life especially considering that more millennials, the main demographic that puts the most value on work/life balance are beginning to enter the work force.
According to Jonathan Wasserstrum, CEO of SquareFoot he believes that job flexibility goes hand in hand with worker’s performance. “More flexible hours means less time rushing around and more time to take care of things just as important as your work,” he says. One of the most important positive benefits of having a flexible job is a decrease in stress to which studies show leads to a more improved worker’s performance in all areas of work. Despite this trend it is a fact that the average American worker use less of their vacation days and compared to their European counterparts have less time off too. In 2015 more than half of America’s working population did not use up all of their vacation days leaving about 658 million vacation days in total left unused http://www.marketwatch.com/story/55-of-american-workers-dont-take-all-their-paid-vacation-2016-06-15. A survey done on over a thousand American worker’s three years ago revealed that there are 5 main fears that employees have when it comes to wanting to take time off or not. Those fears are proportionally speaking are:
- Fear of returning to a mountain of work (40%)
- The belief that nobody else can do the job (35%)
- Inability to afford taking time off (33%)
- Fear of being seen as replaceable (22%)
- To show greater dedication to the company and the job (28%)
With workers constantly worrying about their job security if they take time off many of them don’t sometimes in order to make themselves appear competent to the companies they work for. “Americans suffer from a work martyr complex,” says Roger Dow, CEO of the U.S Travel Association in a press release. “In part, it’s because ‘busyness’ is something we wear as a badge of honor. But it’s also because we’re emerging from a tough economy and many feel less secure in their jobs. Unfortunately, workers do not seem to realize that forfeiting their vacation time comes at the expense of their overall health, well-being and relationships.” It doesn’t help that some employers intrude in their employees time off with some discouraging or intimidating their employees from ever doing so in the first place. It should come as no surprise that some employers are against some of the working policies that allows workers to find a balance in their work life such as telecommuting and working in remote settings. Although it’s true that there is a possibility that some employees might abuse these policies if clear boundaries are set and that workers must function within certain frameworks in regards to working in remote locations.
A balance between work life and a personal one is still essential for not only the needs of the employees but those of the organization it works for as well. The more time people spend at work and less outside of it the more they become stressed and exhausted and under these conditions a worker cannot function efficiently and be as productive to the organization. Employers now must understand now that the working culture is changing and if they don’t adapt they might lose potentially valuable employees to competitors who understand that a balance between work and life is important for the overall health of their employees. Leilani Lucero recruiting manager at Justworks says”Workers clearly want to be able to balance success at work with healthy and fulfilling lives at home, and a flexible work environment goes a long way toward making that a reality,”