Does Your Company Care About Your Work-Life Balance? Do You?
In the words of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton: "Our lives are a mixture of different roles. Most of us are doing the best we can to find whatever the right balance is ..."
Although I agree with Secretary of State Clinton about searching for balance, I would go one step further and add that life will deliver the value and balance we desire if we are enjoying what we are doing every day...in all the important areas that make up our lives.
The economic downturn has placed tremendous pressure on employees over their long-term job security. Employees are responding by seeking out employers that offer a better work-life balance and research shows they work harder for those that do.
In the current economic environment, work-life balance ranks as one of the most important workplace attributes-second only to compensation--- according to research conducted by the Corporate Executive Board among more than 50,000 global workers. And employees who feel they have a better work-life balance tend to work 21% harder than those that don’t.
Given the difficult economic climate and the number of jobs being lost daily, most of us are feeling the pressure to work harder than ever. But in spite of the increasing intensity of our economic crisis, it is not only unfortunate to give in to such pressure. It’s unhealthy.
With managers needing more from employees already working at full-tilt, work-life balance remains an important watchword.
In tough economic times it’s really important that employees don’t power themselves out. For this reason, enlightened businesses need to remain sensitive to their worker’s competing demands of city life, friends, relationships, and career when taking a work-life balance approach to leadership.
Today’s most engaged managers need to understand that many of their employees have overstretched their personal boundaries and forgotten that true happiness comes from what I refer to as living an authentic life fueled with a sense of purpose and balance. I would argue that people want to feel like they are working for an organization with a soul, and that today’s most successful businesses are those that create a work-place atmosphere that encourages a healthy work-life balance.
In today’s fast-paced world, people are searching for ways to find the perfect work-life balance. The good news is companies are starting to catch on with great benefits, including flex time, job sharing, work-from-home options, and more.
Study after study has shown that money is not the only motivator for employees. Money can certainly make workers unhappy if they’re not sufficiently compensated, but it has not been shown to lead to motivation, satisfaction or improved performance. What motivates employees most are free things, such as being praised and receiving care, compassion, and most of all, perks.
As the economy flickers back to life, many workers are itching for change. The reality is that a large percentage of the workforce will seek a new employer, career, or industry when the economy revives. Such wholesale flight is certain to trigger alarm bells in much of corporate America, primarily because finding and training replacement managers and/or professional employees can cost at least as much as a new hire’s annual salary. But employers that excel in motivating employees don’t need to be as worried as those that don’t.
By offering employees value through some popular perks, such as, comprehensive healthcare, extended vacations packages, flexible work hours, wellness programs, career development, fitness expenses, nutritional instruction, child care-to name a few-staffers are made to feel a sense of satisfaction, and thus remain at the top of their game and remain motivated about their particular place of employment.
These extras offerings can make a real difference in a staffer’s life-positively impacting their ability to work more productively. Savvy executives understand that no employee wants to feel like they’re just another number and because of that understand the importance of offering additional perks that speak to the company’s personal investment in their employee’s total well-being and overall work-place health.
Although economic challenges may prevent organizations from optimizing their ability to deliver on a meaningful work-life promise, I would suggest that we create our own best work-life balance practices by making sure that we not only do our best at our jobs, but also remember to reflect the joy of the job, and the joy of our life.
If nobody pats us on the back today, I say let’s pat ourselves on the back-and help others to do the same. When we do, when we are the person that not only gets things done, but also enjoys the doing, it attracts people to us. They want us on their teams and they want to be on our teams.
To see if your company measures up, just ask yourself: does your company go out of its way to care for your needs, develop your skills, and foster a sense that your work - and everyone’s job - matters? If it does, there’s a corporate payoff: Happy workers tend to be productive employees-not to mention, they’re more enjoyable to work with.