WORK-LIFE BALANCE / MAY. 01, 2015
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Is Your Boss Responsible For Your Work Life Balance?

I’ve written before about the important role work life balance plays not only in our emotional wellbeing but in our productivity and success at work. A recent survey from the project management technology company Workfront highlights the crucial importance of work life balance for most of us, with 89 percent of respondents revealing the importance of their personal time being respected.

Alas, a worryingly high proportion revealed that this wasn’t really happening. Around 50 percent said that their work had recently intruded on their personal time, with many revealing that they had been forced to miss important events because of work. Even when they do spend time with loved ones, their focus is often elsewhere, thus rather spoiling the time they do have.

This wasn’t just something that affects us during our free time either, with poor work life balance blamed for low morale in the workplace.  This manifests itself in a resentment, either of their employer or more likely their direct manager. It was also linked with high employee turnover, burnout and reduced productivity.

So it might be taken for granted that achieving a good work life balance is important, but who is responsible for it? Is it something that is purely down to you, or do you need support from your boss in order to achieve the balance you want?

Why our Work Life Balance Sucks

Well top of the tree came our direct manager. Respondents regarded their bad boss as a mixture of overbearing, demanding and mean.  Second in line behind a bad boss was the desire of our employer to see us work outside of regular hours, with little flexibility given in return in terms of time off or work hours.

The survey also offered a glimpse into some of the things employees would like to see to help out their work life balance.

  • 70 percent said they’d like more flexibility in their work schedules
  • Over 50 percent revealed that they’d love the option to work from home
  • Around 25 percent were optimistically hoping for unlimited time off
  • The same proportion were also hoping for an embargo on emails outside of office hours and a defined meeting free period during the week

Interestingly, the results from the survey were largely identical for both men and women, albeit female respondents were more optimistic about the work life balance they currently enjoyed than their male peers.  However, women were also more likely to suffer from burnout when their work life balance is out of whack. Men however, were more likely to reveal they had missed important life events because of work pressure.

The results also revealed some slight generational differences. For instance, millennials revealed a greater degree of support for blurred work life lines, with over half saying it was fine to answer emails during a meal with family. This compared to less than 1/3 of baby boomers who thought this was acceptable.

Likewise, millennials were also much less likely to believe that ruined family time was a significant consequence of a bad work life balance.

Do the results match with your own perspectives? Your thoughts and comments belwo please...

 

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