“Work-life balance” refers to a worker’s ability to maintain a healthy balance among their responsibilities at work, family life, and personal obligations. In today’s times, employees all over the country are seeing personal responsibilities increase across the board: elder care, childcare, volunteer work, and other family commitments. When work responsibilities increase at the same time without room for flexibility, this can cause immense stress due to the pull in opposite directions.
The results of an uneven work-life balance not only affect workers, but they also affect employers. The increasing psychological pressure can lead to burnout, which results in higher stress-related health risks, more absences, and lower productivity. The costs associated with these are passed on to the employer. Burnout can also lead to poor interpersonal relationships between employees and supervisors, reducing job satisfaction throughout the workplace.
An important contributor to the difficulty of maintaining a work-life balance is the change in how and where employees are expected to work. As technology advances and globalization becomes more popular, employees can work from just about anywhere with the help of smart phones, laptops, and tablets. They can access emails and assignments 24/7, meaning that they are increasingly available to employees and supervisors, and that work is becoming more fast-paced as time goes on. This accessibility has its benefits, but it can also make it difficult to maintain proper boundaries outside of work hours.
Offering a setup that fosters a good work-life balance wholly benefits both the employer and employee. This setup can include flexible job roles, which can help workers design their work routine to fit their personal commitments. Flexible working options include compressed work weeks, job sharing, and allowing employees to work from home when possible. Supervisors can aid in this by encouraging staff to use their accrued leave and reminding them to not respond to work-related contact during non-working hours.
A worker’s satisfaction in both their work and personal life greatly contributes to their success as an employee, and this directly benefits any company they may work for. Helping workers to maintain a healthy work-life balance increases loyalty to their employer and helps employers achieve a lower turnover rate. Companies that recognize the importance of a proper balance (and implement policies to encourage them) will see increased productivity and retention of staff. If employees don’t view work as a dreaded chore, they will work more diligently, make fewer mistakes, and become advocates for the company.