Workforce Futures: The Realities of Work-Life Balance
The proliferation of mobile technology in the workplace has had incredible benefits for employees. From increased productivity and collaboration to remote work enablement, it has been a game changer for many. Some have argued, however, that this experience comes with a price. Many of us have found it difficult to resist checking emails after hours. Since nearly everything you need for work is so readily accessible, there’s a certain pressure we place on ourselves to be “always-on.” Given that very real temptation, there’s a perception that the concept of work-life balance is impossible to achieve.
While, yes, it is easier than ever to work on a project at home or respond to a request at the gym, the idea that work-life balance is unobtainable stems from a fundamental misunderstanding of what both “work” and “life” mean to the modern employee. While the traditional school of thought considers a hard separation between the two. But as technology has changed the workplace experience, the lines have been blurred – employees don’t see their professional and personal lives as separate anymore. Rather maintain rigid barriers, the modern worker believes that work and personal passions should support each other, rather than cause the other to suffer.
This is abundantly evident when you consider why employees seek work-life balance in the first place. Our recent study, Workforce Futures: The role of people in the future of work, found 95 percent of employees consider work-life balance to be an important factor when searching for a new job. Here are the main reasons why:
- For better health and wellbeing – 43 percent
- To take care of familial responsibilities – 37 percent
- For healthcare commitments – 14 percent
- To look after pets – 14 percent
The diverse priorities which impact our lives hasn’t increased since the implementation of mobile tools in the workplace. In fact, what has changed is our ability to seamlessly juggle these responsibilities in a way that allows us to give them the attention they need. Parents have new flexibility to hop out of a conference call and go pick up their child from school or an individual can complete some errands between projects. Achieving work-life balance isn’t a matter of working through deliverables ahead of a 5pm deadline, it’s having the flexibility to balance these two equally important facets of our lives.
For more findings from Workforce Futures: the role of people in the future of work, check out this infographic.