Many American workers say they would leave their current job for another if the new post had better work-life balance benefits.
There is a phrase that didn’t exist 20 years ago but is all the rage in employment circles these days: work-life balance.
Work-life balance is the desire among many American workers to be able to work a full-time job and have the time available to enjoy other things, such as family, friends and hobbies. Many employers that want to have happy employees bend over backward to provide that balance through telecommuting, flexible hours and allowances for regular family events such as doctor’s appointments or soccer games.
The desire for greater work-life balance is such a pursuit these days, employees are willing to accept one job over another based simply on the balance that is offered.
The IT consulting firm Softchoice sponsored a study of 1,700 American workers, asking them how they felt about flexible work hours and the need to have time for activities outside of the workplace. Seventy percent said they would leave their current job if they could find a similar job that includes more workday flexibility.
“Technology has made it easier than ever for employees to stay connected to the workplace anytime, anywhere, and as a result, employees increasingly enjoy more flexibility over their schedules,’’ said Softchoice President and CEO David MacDonald in a company press release. “We found people really value the freedom to customize their workday to be able to run an errand, schedule an appointment or pick up their kids from schools, and catch up on work when it suits them. Organizations that enable that kind of flexibly have been highly desirable places to work.”
The study, which Softchoice named Death of the Desk Job, determined that 78 percent of workers highly value the ability to work from outside the office.
The study also found that for most workers, there has been an improvement in the work-life balance area. Fifty-five percent said they have more flexible work hours than they had just three years ago, and 75 percent say they are able to keep more family and social commitments because they can remotely access work any time they need to.
There are some points from the study in which employees have to be taken at their word. For instance, 62 percent said they are more productive working outside the office. More than 60 percent said they would prefer to work an eight-hour day over a longer period of time, perhaps broken up by a window of two hours for lunch.
The work-life balance works both ways, however. While employees want to be able to live while they work, more of them are being required to work while they live. Fifty-seven percent said they are asked to work remotely on personal or sick days, and 44 percent said they worked on their last vacation.
Kent McDill is a staff writer for Millionaire Corner. McDill spent 30 years as a sports writer, working for United Press International and the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. From 1988-1999, he covered the Chicago Bulls for the Daily Herald, traveling with them every day through the nine-month season. He also covered the Bulls for UPI from 1985-88, and currently covers the team for www.nba.com. He has written two books on the Bulls, including the new title “100 Things Bulls Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die’, published by Triumph Books. In August 2013, his new book “100 Things Bears Fans Should Know And Do Before They Die” gets published.
In 2008, he resigned from the Herald and became a freelance writer. The Herald hired him to write business features and speeches for the Daily Herald Business Conferences and Awards presentations.
McDill also writes a monthly parenting column for the Herald’s Suburban Parent magazine.
McDill is the father of four children, and an active fan of soccer, Jimmy Buffett and all things Disney.