Granted, some people won’t be happy until their “life” portion completely dwarfs their “work” portion of the work/life equation. That doesn’t mean many companies are doing enough on this issue.
That’s the assertion of a new online survey on Work/Life Balance by Strategy One.
Check out a few of the key findings:
- 89% of Americans say work/life balance is a problem
- 54% say it’s a “significant” problem
- 43% of employees think their employer isn’t doing enough to address work/life balance issues
- 38% say their work/life balance has worsened because of the recession, and
- 37% who don’t have adequate balance say time with family is the first thing that suffers.
Makes sense: As companies continue to do more with less, employees are feeling more stretched than ever. And that dissatisfaction can breed grumbling that spreads like wildfire.
So maybe your company isn’t going to let people bring their dogs to the office anytime soon or hold early morning yoga classes on site.
That doesn’t mean there are steps that can’t be taken to boost people’s work/life balance … and productivity and retention in the process!
It’s an especially critical time of year to address this issue. There’s a double whammy in Finance: Just when staffers want more time to spend with their family and friends during the holidays (and have more school and social commitments), Finance is in a frenzy of year-end prep.
A couple of strategies:
Take a look at the existing work/life benefits and compare them to the demographics in your department. Flexibility to leave early and come in late for school events are a godsend for parents, but mean nothing if you have a bunch of single 20-somethings populating your department.
Talk to people about what they really want. While making no promises, having a conversation about what types of benefits would improve their balance can boost morale alone. Plus, studies show people are more engaged when they’re involved in creating the program.
Consider some informal arrangements. In that same vein, staffers may be willing to help each other out, all in the name of work/life balance. Perhaps they’d be willing to create a schedule where they cover for each other when someone needs to get to a child’s holiday program or get a jump on the traffic for an out-of-town trip back home for Thanksgiving. Or even having staffers rotate being the “stay late” staffer during year-end gives people more control over their schedules. Knowing the favor will be returned will make them more willing to get on board.