Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “Are you happy with your work-life balance, and who do you think is responsible for your level of work-life balance?”
The majority of responding readers (59.3%) are happy with their work-life balance, while 22.2% said they are “somewhat” happy, and 18.5% reported they are not happy with their work-life balance.
Seven in 10 (70.4%) of respondents agreed with the statement, “Both my employer and I could make changes to improve my work-life balance.” However, 22.2% indicated only they could make changes to improve their work-life balance, and 7.4% said only their employer could do so.
In comments left by respondents, several said work-life balance is harder to achieve with technology making employees easier to reach all the time. Some explained how creating a better work-life balance helped them with stress and work productivity. Others attributed their lack of work-life balance with too much work to get done and even a Type A personality. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said, “Work-life balance can be facilitated by the employer but can only be achieved by the employee.”
Thank you to all who participated in the survey!
I think most of us put too much pressure on ourselves to work more then we need to.
It is super hard to let things go that need to be done.
In my experience, concern for “balance” extends only to the executives making the decisions.
Most of my working career I had a heavy work sided balance. I am currently adjusting the balance to be heavy on the life side much to my employer’s dismay.
I hate cooking, especially after a long day at work. My husband promised me that he would cook every night, if I promised not to work more than 15 minutes late, and not bring work home. With that daily deadline, I have become more efficient, spend less time in idle chit chat, do what I can to move meetings along, and plow through my work every day. It has done wonders for my health, reduced my stress levels, and of course, my relationship with my awesome husband!
After 30 years of office-based corporate life, I am now a “virtual” employee. By eliminating 2+ hours of daily commute time, I have a great work-life balance.
Mobile phones and internet access increase employers’ expectations of instant response time.
Work load is overwhelming due to understaffing.
When I was young and had a life I didn’t have any balance. Now that I’m older and don’t have a life, I have a lot of balance. Life is cruel sometimes!
In my experience, the biggest issue for work/life balance is an expectation that workers will be available 24/7/365 to address any issue that happens to occur to a manager/supervisor/client/customer at any hour of the day or night. Most of those issues lack the urgency originally attached to them. However, the need to be constantly “on call” is exhausting. Not everything is a crisis needing immediate attention!
I do a lot of volunteer work, which disconnects me from work. I use the drive time to transition my brain from work and to something I really enjoy. Volunteer work is fulfilling and gives me purpose.
An employer paying lip service to work-life balance does not make it actually exist at that company.
My life was more challenging when my kids were young. They are grown now so my life is more my own.
I moved laterally in my job to a new employer about 2.5 years because of work-life balance. My prior employer, a top 5 broker, believed that work-life balance was a 95% work-5% life proposition. With a more equitable balance, my stress levels are down, work quality up and life in general is better.
My work-life balance is about to get a whole lot better when I retire in four years.
Amazing how your work-life balance improves when your children become adults on their own!
Work-life balance can be facilitated by the employer but can only be achieved by the employee. I work as a paralegal for a large law firm. When I started working there several decades ago, the lawyers encouraged me to go to law school. That was flattering, but I saw the hours that associates (and partners) work. I work to live. My salary funds my real life (which isn’t work). Lawyers live to work. They may make more money, but they have less time to enjoy it. I chose to put the emphasis on the life part of work-life balance. Ultimately, that decision is up to the employee.
I am a type A personality and passionate about what I do. I take on additional work for various reasons some of which are attributable to staffing needs. I do my best to decide to leave the office at a reasonable time, but I need my manager to say, “Take the afternoon off” once in a while. I also need to feel that if I do take time off, it will not impact my annual bonus.
Honestly, I love what I do and I have a supportive family and office which makes it easy to find that balance.
After working over 30 years, I have decided that if this ever did exist, it has completely disappeared with technology where you are connected all the time and work can continue anywhere.
I’ve been lucky and have always had some flexibility with my work hours to allow for appointments for me or my family members. Employers need to be willing to be flexible when possible to allow employees time to tend to their personal needs or the employee actually becomes more unproductive at work worrying about them and trying to schedule them.
It starts with your employer and ends with you. If your employer is not willing to give you the time or mental free-ness you need, then that is a hard first step to overcome. It is amazing how 1 job/role at a company can be so soul-sucking that you don’t realize it until you come out on the other side and are in a new role where your life outside of work is just as important. It’s amazing the amount of time I am able to spend with my family and do some extra-curriculars that I love, while still loving my job and doing the work, all because my employer understands that work stops at work and you don’t need to carry it with you….it will be there tomorrow…
The only way I found to get a better work-life balance is to leave the employer.
I’m waaaay off balance now with no end in sight. It appears retirement will be the only answer, which is still a few years away! Ugh!
I’ve had the ability to work remotely for 10 years since our HR team was part of a pilot program to kick the tires to see how “unsupervised” work would go. The participants made it work and we “won” the opportunity to continue. Each of us is allowed 2 work from home/remote days per week as it’s the desire of management to still have a few bodies in the office each day. With the ability to basically do my job from any place that has WiFi, balancing work and home duties basically got easier, but there are those of us who never quite disconnect (ability to check emails from cell phones also), so while at first telecommuting was a good thing, as technology keeps advancing, I seem to have created my own monster with remaining connected more now than I did prior to being able to telecommute. What’s the phrase? Shot myself in the foot, I believe… 🙂
While I checked the box indicating that both my employer and I could make changes to improve my work-life balance, I own ~75% of that. My employer provides great technology tools that allow me to work from almost anywhere, but I have to have the self-discipline to shut down and stop working. Work guilt has become a strong # 2 behind mommy guilt in my world.
My awesome boss is largely responsible for my excellent work-life balance. She assigns projects she knows will engage me, authorized my nearly full-time telecommute status and ensures I am not overwhelmed with too much work. Boss-of-the-Year award-givers, take note!
The only reason my work/life balance is fine is b/c we’re in our slow season. It won’t be fine in 4th quarter, unfortunately.
In the long run you are in control of your work-life balance. You have to know when to shut it down, but the employer also has to allow employees to take time off without making them feel guilty.
NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Strategic Insight or its affiliates.