Keeping Focused on Work-Life Balance for Your Employees

    Posted by TASC Large Markets on Nov 19, 2019 3:41:19 PM

    According to the Harvard Business Review, employee burnout is responsible for an estimated $125- 190 billion a year in U.S. healthcare spending.1 


    Work-life balance has been an issue since 1940, when the Fair Labor Standards Act standardized the 40-hour work week. As technology has blurred the boundaries between work life and personal life, and as new generations of workers have brought new needs and priorities into the workplace, the meaning of work-life balance has evolved. Now it’s not just a matter of how many hours employees work, but where, when, and how they perform their jobs.

    There’s more at stake in creating better work-life balance than keeping employees happy. The mental and physical stress caused by the conflicting demands of work and family have economic costs. According to the Harvard Business Review, employee burnout is responsible for an estimated $125- 190 billion a year in U.S. healthcare spending.1 And 95% of HR professionals surveyed said their ability to retain good employees was being sabotaged by employee burnout caused by work-life imbalance together with factors such as heavy workloads and concern about job security.2 

    So, what do employees actually want when they ask for more work-life balance? Although Baby Boomers, Gen-Xers and Millennials look at that question in different ways, some common needs emerge.

    Boomers, the most conventionally career-focused of the generational groups, have come around to the idea that there’s more to life than work. Today, 6 in 10 Boomers consider work-life balance the most important factor in evaluating a job prospect.3 Although their kids may be grown and out of the house, many Boomers need flexibility to help care for their partners, elderly parents, and grandkids. In fact, close to 25% say they were forced to quit their jobs to care for a family member or spouse.4 Flexible schedules, backup and dependent care, and the option to work remotely can help keep qualified Boomers on the job.

    Gen-Xers see the price their Boomer parents paid for too little work-life balance and are determined not to repeat their mistakes. They see work-life balance as a necessary “prerequisite” to accepting a job.5 They also prioritize time with their families and are more likely to take full advantage of their PTO than Boomers.6 In large part because of their obligations to their children (and sometime their parents), Gen-Xers rate flex hours as their number one priority.7 They respond to family-friendly programs like flexible schedules and telecommuting, extended maternity and paternity leave, and a healthy amount of vacation time.

    For Millennials, work-life balance isn’t just a better way—it’s the only way. Eight-three percent rank it as the number one factor in finding a new job.8 And 70% say they will leave their jobs for lack of flexible work options.9 They want flexibility to follow their passions. Working from home and having a flexible schedule are must-haves for many of these young workers.

    The common theme among all these workers is flexibility. The US Bureau of Labor reports that a majority of Americans would prefer having more freedom in their daily schedules over earning more money.10 Flexible working hours (flextime) and telecommuting—or working from home—are perhaps the most in-demand and commonly offered work-life benefits. Others include 4-day workweeks, and unlimited (or greatly expanded) PTO and vacation time. Some companies allow employees to set their own schedules.

    Today, approximately 42% of all the workplaces surveyed by LIMRA offer a remote working option.11 Although giving employees more flexibility remains challenging for some corporate cultures, the effort is paying off for organizations that embrace the concept. Research show that options like a 4-day work week, flex time and telecommuting have “reduced turnover rates and boosted morale, resilience, trust, and productivity.”12 And 87% if HR professionals believe that letting employees work from home periodically boosted their job satisfaction.13

    Being recognized as an employer who offers a measure of on-the-job flexibility could provide you with a competitive hiring advantage. One way to prove your commitment to work-life balance is with a benefit package featuring a home office account, which supports telecommuting employees with reimbursement for expenses such as office supplies, internet provider charges, a computer, a printer, mobile phone expenses, etc.

    If you’re still on the fence about workplace flexibility, consider one very successful example. Richard Branson, the Founder of Virgin Group, is a champion of flexibility for his employees, in part because that’s the way he insists on working. “We like to give people the freedom to work where they want,” Branson says, “safe in the knowledge that they have the drive and expertise to perform excellently, whether they are at their desk or in the kitchen. Yours truly has never worked out of an office, and never will.”14




    1. “The Evolving Definition of Work-Life Balance,”, March, 2018:
    2. “Guide for HR Professionals: How to avoid burnout…,”, March 2018:
    3. “Survey Explores Varying Attitudes of Millennials and Older Workers…,”, September 2018: http: //
    4. “Workplace Benefits Resource Guide…,” LIMRA, 2017:
    5. “The Evolving Definition of Work-Life Balance,”, March, 2018:
    6. Ibid
    7. Kaiser Permanente, 2016 http//
    8. Flexjobs-2018; http//
    9. Flexjobs-2018; http//
    10. “7 Key Workplace Trends in 2019,”, June, 2018:
    11. “How to keep baby boomers in the workplace,”
    12. “Work-Life Balance: What Does It Really Mean in 2019?”, July, 2019: 
    13. “The 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study,”, February, 2015:
    14. “Work-Life Balance: What Does It Really Mean in 2019?”, July, 2019: