Work-Life Balance Still a Work in Progress for American Workers

Work-Life Balance Still a Work in Progress for American Workers
June 25, 2012 — In the past 30 years, workplaces have changed dramatically with the advent of email, Internet, instant messaging, laptops, digital teleconferencing and flexible schedules. All of these innovations have changed the way employees work, the way they live and the way professional and personal lives intersect.
But the results of a national poll show that, despite the advances in the past several years, work-life balance still is a work in progress for most American workers.
According to the 2012 poll commissioned by Workplace Options and conducted through Public Policy Polling:
• 43% of respondents reported an increase in work-life benefits and professional development opportunities compared to their first full-time job.
• 28% said work-life benefits available through their employer have increased in the past five years despite the faltering economy.
• 45% reported access to more flexible working arrangements compared to their first full-time job.
"Over the span of three decades, this industry has undergone an incredible evolution," said Dean Debnam, Workplace Options CEO. "The conversation has shifted. Benefits are not just recruiting tools, they are programs that allow employees to be more effective. The new challenge is finding innovative and engaging ways to answer the question, “How can I make my employees’ lives better, and allow them to do their job more efficiently at the same time?"
The issue of balance between personal and professional responsibilities now has a more central role in employment decisions. More than one in three survey respondents (34%) said they would consider leaving their current job in favor of one with more attractive work-life programs.
"The thoughts and trends reflected in this survey hold true around the world, not just in the U.S.," Debnam said. "Work-life balance is a growing global conversation that’s only going to become more important in the future."
The survey also revealed three specific areas where benefits have made significant advances:
• 27% said they now have access to more assistance programs for child and elder care than they did at their first full-time job.
• 31% reported access to more legal and financial assistance programs.
• 43% said their current employers offer more personal health and wellness programs compared to the start of their careers.
"Organizations are only as effective and productive as their workforce — that’s a fact that will never change," Debnam said.
The national survey was conducted March 15-17, 2012. The survey polled 570 working Americans and has a margin of error of +/-4.1%.
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