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Life Balance

Majority of professionals striking work-life balance

Survey Finds Balance Generally Good From Staff-Level to C-Level

Toronto - When it comes to work-life balance, new research suggests the scales are tipping in employees' favour. In a Robert Half Management Resources survey, 65 per cent of workers characterized their work-life balance as good or very good. Nearly two in five respondents (36 per cent) reported they have greater balance than three years ago.

Balance has also reached the C-suite. In a separate survey, 80 per cent of chief financial officers (CFOs) rated their work-life balance as good or very good.

While generally positive, the findings show room for improvement. Almost two in five of all workers (35 per cent) and 19 per cent of CFOs specifically consider their work-life balance fair or poor. In the survey of workers, 22 per cent of respondents said they have less balance now compared to three years ago.

Respondents were asked how they would rate their work-life balance. Their responses*:


All Workers

CFOs

Very good – it's right where I want it to be

20%

15%

Good – it's close to where I want it to be

45%

65%

Fair – it needs improvement

30%

18%

Poor – I don't have balance

5%

1%


100%

99%

* Totals do not equal 100 per cent due to rounding.

In the survey of all workers, respondents also were asked how their work-life balance has changed compared to three years ago. Their responses:

Getting better

36%

No change

42%

Getting worse

22%


100%

"The meaning of work-life balance has evolved considerably in recent years, resulting in professional definitions that are incredibly nuanced and personal," said David King, Canadian president of Robert Half Management Resources. "It is up to managers to recognize that supporting employees to the fullest requires identifying what balance means to them, and helping to tailor an approach that fits their needs."

King added that while technology allows for greater accessibility between professional and personal lives, it often makes lines between the two more ambiguous. "Although technology has transformed how, when and where we work, this flexibility often makes it difficult to completely disconnect on our down-time. For professionals in the modern workplace, it takes discipline to commit to a day-to-day that is both productive and fulfilling."

Five tips to help managers and professionals improve their teams' and their own work-life balance:

1. Take an individual approach to work-life balance: Managers should make the effort to learn what work-life balance means for their employees on an individual basis, acknowledging that it is not a one-size-fits-all program. Workers should consider their personal and career goals together when determining which benefits would work best for them.

2. Communicate: Adopt a work environment in which employees feel comfortable discussing their needs, and promote benefit programs that welcome feedback and are flexible. Employees should talk to their managers about their goals, and show how new changes in their work arrangements will also benefit the business.

3. Establish benchmarks: Create guidelines that help employees measure how well they're meeting their work-life balance objectives. As they would with any goal, workers should be prepared to track and report on how they are progressing.

4. Be flexible and make changes as necessary: Ensure that work-life balance is a topic of conversation at regular meetings with employees, and offer solutions when a situation doesn't seem to be working out. Employees, let your manager know when you're having problems, and what you can do to fix them. Your boss may have suggestions you hadn't considered.

5. Lead by example: Managers can set the tone for a successful work-life balance program by incorporating and following through on a tailored approach that fits with their own lifestyle and obligations. Likewise, employees should recognize that what works (or doesn't work) for them can serve as an example to others, and share their experiences with colleagues and superiors.

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