Study Reveals Global Work-Life Imbalance

September 20, 2011 ( – A global survey reveals a growing imbalance between what employers say about work-life balance and what they actually do. 

According to Kathie Lingle, Executive Director of WorldatWork’s Alliance for Work-Life Progress, “The good news is that 80% of employers around the globe avow support for family-friendly workplaces. The bad news is they are simultaneously penalizing those who actively strive to integrate work with their lives.”

Employee respondents reported repercussions that included:

  • Overtly or subtly discouraged from using flexible work and other work-life programs,
  • Received unfavorable job assignments,
  • Received negative performance reviews,
  • Received negative comments from supervisor, and
  • Denied a promotion.

The study was conducted by WorldatWork’s alliance for Work-Life Progress and is titled “Men and Work-Life Integration, a Global Study.”

“We set out to study men and work-life integration, but instead uncovered workplace trends showing employees suffer a variety of job repercussions for participating in work-life programs, even when their leaders insist they support the business value,” said Lingle, in a press release. “This conundrum can be so oppressive that some employees go underground, resorting to ‘stealth maneuvers’ for managing their personal responsibilities.”

The study found the following prevailing leadership attitudes in developed countries (U.S., UK, and Germany): 

  • More than half of the surveyed managers think the ideal employee is one that is available to meet business needs regardless of business hours;
  • Forty percent believe the most productive employees are those without a lot of personal commitments; and
  • Nearly one in three think that employees who use flexible work arrangements will not advance very far in their organization. 

The same leadership attitudes prevailed in emerging countries (Brazil, China, India) but on a larger scale.

Click here to view the study.