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Hanging in the work-life balance

Posted December 21, 2016

Work-life balance has always been a challenge for employers and employees. However, companies that follow these guidelines may find themselves with better all-around employees and ranking higher on next year’s Best Places to Work lists. (Deseret Photo)

Companies are often described as operating like a well-oiled machine when every cog, gear and wheel plays their part. But what happens when each of those parts is not in tip-top shape?

This is the moment when employers must realize that those cogs and gears are not just parts of the machine but actual living people.

The work-life balance has always been a challenge for employers and employees. A survey conducted by OfficeTeam reveals a strong discrepancy between a manager’s view and workers’ views on how supportive a company is on efforts to achieve a healthy work-life balance. Managers felt they were 63 percent supportive while workers saw their companies as only being 34 percent supportive of efforts in creating a work-life balance. Unfortunately, these statistics accurately depict the sentiments of employees across the nation.

The root of the work-life balance disconnect is often due to a company’s lack of understanding in how to establish the proper balance between employee needs and realities of doing business. Not creating this balance correctly often results in stressed out, overworked and underperforming employees.

However, companies that follow these guidelines may find themselves ranking higher on next year’s Best Places to Work lists.

Learn Flexibility: In recent years, the most prominent complaint employees make about work-life balance at a company is not having a flexible work schedule. We are living in a technology-centered age where meetings, projects and presentations can occur on a variety of platforms from virtually anywhere, at any time. For this reason, today's job seekers value a flexible work schedule over salary when looking for a new position.

Real Vacation: Employees are also looking for companies that offer generous vacation time. Companies should make it clear to employees that it is truly all right for them to leave the office and take a vacation. It should also be the practice of the employer to respect employees’ personal time and allow them to disconnect from the office while away.

Encourage Movement: OfficeTeam’s survey included asking what the best health and wellness benefit is to employees. They answered access to fitness facilities or programs are of high value. Many jobs today require sitting sedentary for extended periods of time which does not leave much room for burning calories. Companies that show they care about employees’ health by instigating wellness programs and promoting active lifestyles have happier, more loyal employees.

Be Unique: For the seventh time, Google has been named Fortune’s Best Company to Work For. Google goes beyond corporate benefits and provides life-changing perks to its employees. Last year, Google provided breast-cancer screenings, prepared organic meals, personal-fitness classes, health clinics, oil changes and laundry rooms all at their headquarters. Although most companies will not be able to provide all of these amenities, employers should get creative, listen to employees’ needs and initiate some relevant and appealing perks.

Monica Whalen possesses over twenty years’ experience in employment law litigation and claim prevention services. She is the Utah President of Employers Council and member of its Board of Directors.

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