REFLECTION: Wondering what’s happened with work-life balance issues given the recent downturn in the economy? CEB, the Washington based Corporate Executive Board which advises high performing organizations around the world, offers a few insights in their August 2009 report on the issues. Of note are these developments:
- financial instability has fueled work-life balance pressures.
- growing demands and heavy workloads have reduced employee engagement and morale.
- work-life balance has risen on employees’ priority wish lists while their satisfaction with achieving it has fallen.
Bad news for individuals, certainly. But why would organizations care? Because, according to CEB’s research, employees who feel they have better work-life balance work 21% harder than those who don’t. And, employees satisfied with their work-life balance are 33% less likely to leave (and retention will quickly resurface as a priority issue after the economic rebound).
ACTION: So, how can an organization positively influence the situation? Try focusing on these two actions.
1. Align work-life practices with employee preferences. CEB found that employees value time management supports (flexible schedules, appropriate workloads, and predictable hours) significantly more than other services (telecommuting, gyms or on-site medical). There’s no sense offering something that employees don’t value.
2. Actively raise awareness of work-life practices that are already available. Fewer than one third of employees are actually aware of work-life practices available in their organizations. CEB found that increasing employee awareness about available options actually increases their perception of having a good work-life balance by 35% – whether they take advantage of the options or not. And, when employees actually participate in these work-life balance programs, their perception of balance in their own lives can increase by up to 29%.
What’s the best way to increase awareness and encourage participation? Raise the profile and share the experiences of peers who are already using the services.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “To acquire balance means to achieve that happy medium between the minimum and the maximum that represents your optimum.” – Nido Qubein
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: Read more on CEB findings and their recommendations for work-life balance enhancements at: http://www.talentmgt.com/departments/dashboard/2009/August/1033/index.php
READERS WRITE: In response to last week’s Pause message, Decide Already, reader LG writes: Very good advice. This is something I struggle with all too often. When I FINALLY make the decision I feel so much better – like a weight being lifted off my shoulders. Thanks once again for PAUSE – it is one time in my work day that I actually take the time to pause for me.”