April 27, 2016
Today, everyone is connected. Whether it be through email and text or through social media and dating apps, the arm of technology is longer than ever before. And while these technologies have turned businesses into well-oiled production machines, they have also provided employees with a much needed commodity in the world today: work-life balance. And if you don't believe it, there is plenty of data that backs it up.
A recent study from Unify showed that 50 percent of knowledge-profession employees feel that work-life balance conditions in their workplace have improved in the last 5 years. And while this may sound like a “glass-half full” situation, 32 percent said that their work-life balance had remained the same and 2 percent said they hadn't worked in 5 years. This leaves a measly 16 percent of workers that are more unhappy with their situation than they were 5 year ago.
While human resource department heads and CEOs may be scrambling to find this report for assistance on how to provide work-life balance to their employees, the trail unfortunately ends with disappointment. While technology has proven to provide a sense of flexibility that makes employees feel balanced, too much technology can burden workers with more tasks than they had before. The truth is, work-life balance is a moving target that needs to be evaluated for and by each individual employee.
“Work life balance is a very subjective concept,” says Tim Bishop, Head of Strategy at Unify, in the study. “As technology continues to proliferate in both our work and personal lives, we expect to see knowledge workers become more and more adept at integrating these two worlds.”
The balancing act between life and work has always been an issue, so what makes it so important now? Technology has made connecting so easy that workers typically fear the threat of an over-demanding work environment that allows no time for outside interest or activity. In regards to this study, this fear results in nearly all (98 percent) of workers agreeing that some form of work-life balance was important for basic mental health, with many believing they had achieved that goal as well.
This data is fairly comprehensive and convincing when it comes to the need for work-life balance. But surely different age groups couldn't unanimously agree about the importance of this required trait of any given profession. Yes, they can! 95 percent of workers from the ages of 16 to 66+ were all in agreement when it came to keeping your professional life and your personal life separate to maintain happiness. And if Millennials and baby boomers can agree on something, it has to be true.
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