More employees are prioritizing their home lives over their work lives, meaning employers are —and should be — increasingly stepping up efforts to provide benefits that help support work-life balance.
According to new research from staffing firm Robert Half, 54% of professionals have increased their commitment to their personal life over the last year. Just 5% of the surveyed employees say they’re putting in less effort into finding a healthier balance between their work and personal lives.
Comparatively, 38% of those polled said they are more committed to their career, and 34% cited additional dedication to their job.
The findings are good news for both employees and employers, says Syed Hussain, vice president of Robert Half Finance & Accounting, North America.
“Employees who enjoy better work-life balance often are more engaged and creative,” he says. “Moreover, employers offering good work-life balance retain more staff for longer periods of time.
“Having a sense of fulfillment from a personal life perspective makes for a satisfied employee, which is what all employers should make a priority.”
Work-life balance has become a more universally accepted, albeit slightly unattainable, concept over the years as technology and hyper-connectivity continue to blur the lines between work and home.
But research has continued to show the importance of work-life balance, with studies showing that employees who experience it tend to be happier, healthier and more productive. And millennials look to be the ones leading the trend.
Overall, according to Robert Half, it’s younger employees who are making a bigger commitment to both their personal and professional lives. A greater percentage of the professionals ages 18 to 34 were more committed in the categories explored in the Robert Half survey — including commitment to your personal life, commitment to your boss and commitment to your career — than their peers over age 35.
One driver of the work-life balance focus? The strong job market.
“Many professionals today are more confident in their career prospects. They feel like they have more leverage in the job market and can look for job opportunities that offer balance,” Hussain says. “As the economy has added jobs, professionals may feel more secure and turn their focus to personal fulfillment.”
That is coupled with the fact that more companies are offering perks facilitating greater work-life balance, he says.
“One trend — at least in Silicon Valley — is to offer unlimited time off,” Hussain says. “More and more employers are adopting this tactic to offer employees a generous vacation plan.”
Though he acknowledges unlimited time off may not be an option for all firms, the perk, he says, “emphasizes the importance of offering vacation benefits that enable employees to take the necessary breaks and find a better balance between their work and personal lives.”
Telecommuting is another important rising trend, Hussain says.
“The nice thing for companies is it is a highly valued perk that typically costs nothing to offer,” he says.
The Robert Half report follows a stream of other research contending that workplace flexibility is becoming a major perk. For example, a report earlier this month from network operator Vodafone found that 75% of companies now have some kind of flexible workplace policy.
Still, there is room for improvement for employers to help their workers achieve a perfect balance, Hussain says.
“Overall, we are moving in the right direction, but there are still opportunities for companies to instill a culture of better work-life balance.”
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