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Placing a Premium on Work/Life Balance

Analysis  |  By HR Daily Advisor  
   July 12, 2021

The pandemic caused more people to want more control over, and flexibility with, work/life balance.

This article was first published July 12, 2021, by HR Daily Advisor, a sibling publication to HealthLeaders.

As employees begin to make the trek back into their physical workplaces, some are excited and anxious to reconnect with colleagues, while others are feeling a sense of trepidation and loss. In this environment, employers need to think about how they can engage all employees, regardless of how much they are looking forward to, or dreading, a return to the workplace.

Regardless of which camp they’re in, though, one thing employees have come to value even more during the pandemic than they did previously is the opportunity to have more control over, and flexibility with, work/life balance.

Recent studies suggest that this flexibility increased in importance for employees during the pandemic. Writing for Psychology Today, Gieb Tsipursky, PhD, recently provided a meta-analysis of a variety of studies that lends some insights into how organizations can best meet employees’ needs for a healthy work/life balance.

What the Research Says

Based on his analysis, Tsipursky notes:

  • More than two-thirds of employees “want and expect to work from home half the time or more permanently, while over a fifth want to work remotely full-time.”
  • More than two-fifths of employees indicate they would leave their current job if they didn’t have the opportunity for remote work.
  • More than a quarter of employees already have plans to leave their job when the virus subsides. This is especially true for those who rate their company’s culture at a “C” level or lower.
  • Younger employees, particularly, have some concerns over career progress if working from home.
  • Employees are willing to sacrifice pay in exchange for more work/life flexibility.
  • More than half of employees are feeling a sense of burnout, with three-quarters indicating they’re suffering from “Zoom fatigue” and would like to have fewer meetings.
  • More than three-fifths of employees point to poor virtual communication and collaboration as impediments to their success and ability to get their work done.

While this meta-analysis reveals some important trends in how employees are viewing the workplace and what they’re hoping for post-pandemic, importantly, Tsipursky says, “Don’t assume that you know what your employees want when they return to the office.” Ask them! Needs and preferences are likely to vary, but the more you know, the further you can go toward providing the right balance for your employees.

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