There has been a strong collective shift away from work-centric mindsets and towards an emphasis on building balance between career, personal identity, and values outside of the office. This shift has been exacerbated by the increased popularity of work-from-home arrangements and the entry of a new generation of workers into the workforce. Organizations with leading company cultures have accordingly evolved their positions by adopting a culture that supports life-work balance.
During the COVID-19 crisis, many workers got their first opportunity to work from home. Benefits such as saving time and money commuting, a greater sense of independence, and increased flexibility have made this arrangement highly attractive. However, the impact of working from home goes beyond just this. The social implications of the pandemic triggered widespread reevaluation of how we generally spend our time and energy. Therefore, while flexible remote work arrangements are an aspect creating life-work balance, a true balance requires more.
The increase of Gen Z professionals in the workplace is also helping to drive this culture shift. Young professionals are vocal about their needs, including the importance of a culture that emphasizes balance. Accordingly to Forbes, a significant 81% of Gen Z workers have shared that flexible work is highly important to them; flexible work, however doesn’t mean 100% remote work but rather that they want employers that see and treat them as human first.
What Is Life-Work Balance?
Life-work balance is an organizational approach to work that puts people first. It helps to minimize burnout, increase talent retention and productivity, and fosters a more satisfied and engaged team.
Life-work balance is not designed to undervalue the importance of work. Instead, it is intended to serve as a strategy for reminding individuals to enjoy the other aspects of their lives that make them human. Utilizing the life-work balance approach to increase engagement is an excellent way to retain talent. The importance of this underscored by the fact that people who report being engaged at work are 59% less likely to look for a job with a different organization in the next 12 months.
Creating Life-Work Balance at Your Organization
Want to build a life-work balance approach at your organization but don’t know where to start? It starts with:
- Hiring people you trust and are aligned with your business values and mission – This creates better life-work balance as managers can award employees with greater autonomy over their daily calendars.
- A leadership team that practices what they preach and champions flexibility – A healthy culture begins with executives who will take their paid time off (PTO) and encourage their teams to do the same, who are empathetic, and who show that they care about protecting their employees’ time outside of work.
- Offering flexibility – This doesn’t mean being fully remote, however if your organization is able to offer employees a hybrid work environment, you’ll be able to attract the majority of workers. A staggering 83% of people prefer this model of work. Other ways you might be able to offer flexibility could include flex-hours and excellent PTO policies.
What Hurts Life-Work Balance
When building out this approach at your organization, be sure to avoid:
- Treating this culture change as something that can be “completed” – Building life-work balance is an ongoing practice.
- Lack of boundaries – Managers should avoid reaching out to their team members outside of regular work hours as well as when they are out of office. If emailing under these circumstances, it should be directly clear that an immediate response is not required nor expected.
- Rewarding “hustle culture” – A public pat on the back for an employee working extra late nights or over the weekend can damage other team members’ understanding of what is seen as success at your organization and discourage healthy balance.
Life-Work Balance in Practice
So what does life-work balance look like in practice? At Jarvis, we subscribe to a life-work balance approach and maintain this by:
- Embracing flexibility – We practice policies to ensure balance including a hybrid environment, flexible hours, and excellent PTO in place so our team can enjoy their time outside of the office to the fullest.
- An emphasis on personal identity – We know individuals are not robots, and we don’t want them to be! We encourage people to celebrate their uniqueness and embrace their individual working styles. Inviting people to be themselves at work is conducive to a stress free space.
- Ongoing evolution & feedback – Collecting feedback from the team and evolving policies accordingly is a part of our culture strategy at Jarvis. By evolving and remaining agile, we are able to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to best practices for building a balanced workplace.
Our leading values help us create and maintain a culture that is conducive to life-work balance.
The shift towards a culture of life-work balance does not mean people have become lazier, or that they care less about their jobs. The movement of life-work balance is driven by a group of people who have learned to produce quality results by working smarter while avoiding burnout. Companies and hiring teams that understand the value of a life-work Balance approach reap the benefits in the form of increased efficiency, more satisfied & engaged teams, and higher employee retention.
People Experience Manager
As a People Experience Manager at Jarvis, Taylor is responsible for fostering excellent client experiences as well as managing internal employee engagement & culture.
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Jarvis is a leading IT consulting firm headquartered in Canada that provides total talent solutions with ongoing partnerships across North America’s top financial institutions, cutting-edge startups, and major technology companies.
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