The Benefits of Work-Life Balance

The modern office can be hectic. New projects, deadlines and new crises can result in long hours at work. Worse, smartphones enable our jobs to spill over into our homes, allowing emails and messages to demand our attention at all hours.

Research indicates that a lack of balance between work and personal lives has serious consequences. Increased stress affects our health and our productivity, as shown in studies such as those by Marianna Virtanen of the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health[1]. Virtanen reports that problems caused by overwork can include impaired sleep, depression, heavy drinking, diabetes, impaired memory and heart disease. Poor work-life balance may also lead to frustration at work, resulting in poor employee retention and general dissatisfaction, even among employees who love their careers. [2]

This is why many organizations seek to improve work-life balance for their employees. Tools such as flexible time, family leave and smarter time management provide workers with more time at home, and help them work more efficiently when in the office. Many organizations consider work-life balance a “top priority” or “very important” [3].

Five potential benefits for companies that encourage a better work-life balance [5]:

  1. Better recruiting

The best recruits want to work for the best companies. Salary and benefits packages may convince them to work at a given company, but nothing sells the workplace better than meeting other employees who are happy and positive about where they work. Even employees who don’t need work-life benefits have a better view of their workplaces. Wendy Caspar writes in the Journal of Vocational Behavior that “the mediating effects of anticipated organizational support may explain why individuals who are unlikely to use work-life policies are still more inclined to pursue jobs with organizations that offer them.” [4]

  1. More creativity

Employees who do nothing but sit at their desks all day rarely have the opportunity to discover ideas or meet people who can inspire new approaches to solving problems. It’s important to step away from the office for a while to breathe and see what other people want and what they are interested in.

  1. Healthy means happy

When employees are sick, run-down or haven’t slept well, they don’t have the energy or enthusiasm to excel at their jobs. When they have the time to rest, make a healthy dinner and get enough sleep without worrying about missing something at the office, they will have better overall health. Even if an employee gets sick, they return sooner and feel happier to return to an understanding and supportive workplace.

  1. Less burn-out

No one can survive a constant diet of stress. Even the most indefatigable employee loses the desire to come into work constantly. Sooner or later the crazy pace catches up, and when it does, it can feel like there are only choices: quit or go crazy. When employees know that the company is flexible, their job becomes even more valuable to them.

  1. The company will grow

When employees are happy at work, they are more likely to stay and help the organization succeed. In addition, they are more positive when working with customers which means the company’s reputation improves. The results speak for themselves.