Slideshow 7 truths behind the ‘real’ work-life balance

Published
  • September 08 2015, 12:20pm EDT

The thin veil separating work and personal life is becoming even more transparent as technology evolves and employers demand more from employees. Findings from the American Psychological Association’s recent Work-Life Survey highlight employees' perceptions of their work-life benefits.

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A blurring communication

Six in ten working Americans say they respond to personal communications during work hours and almost five out of ten (48%) report regularly responding to work communications during personal time.

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Taking control

Although technology increasingly allows communication to span work and non-work boundaries, a majority of U.S. workers say they control the boundaries between their work and personal life and decide whether they keep them separate. People also report investing a lot of themselves in both work (61%) and family (72%).

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Flexibilities

Although 51% of working Americans say their employer offers flexibility for when they work, less than half report having flexible options in terms of the number of hours they work (43%), how many days per week they work (40%) and the location they work from (34%). Even fewer U.S. workers tap into work-life benefits, with just a quarter or fewer using work-life benefits once a month or more.

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Gender differences

The survey found that men are more likely than women to report using some work-life benefits more frequently (once a week or more), including child care benefits (9% vs. 2%), personal time off (9% vs. 4%), flexible schedules regarding how many days a week they work (15% vs. 9%).

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On the flip side

Women are more likely than men to say they have control over whether they are able to keep their work and non-work lives separate (79% vs. 70%), invest a lot of themselves in family (77% vs. 67%) and feel like they have gotten the important things they want in life (67% vs. 58%).

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When parenting

Working parents with at least one child under the age of 18 in the home in general report greater utilization of non-work support and flexible work arrangements, as well as more non-work issues interrupting work (55% vs. 42%) and more work interrupting non-work time (36% vs. 25%).

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Parenting bonuses

Although there are times when working parents may be distracted at work, the survey did find that working parents report higher levels of work engagement (46% vs. 40%) and an overall better work-life fit (81% vs. 71%).

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