This is the first of a 4-part article featuring excerpts from the Reimagine Work white paper. The white paper compiles data from three studies - Employer Brand Research, Workmonitor and most recently, Talent Expectations Survey - to help employers understand work-life balance as defined by employees to create meaningful and useful engagement initiatives and strengthen talent attraction strategies.
Employee surveys are a valuable tool for identifying workers’ challenges and satisfactions when they are already working in the organisation. But how much do employers know about job seekers who are looking for a company to work for?
Employers thought that remote and flexible work arrangements could improve employee experience and work conditions, employee well-being and work-life balance. However, in some instances, the opposite is true as employees overwork themselves due to tight deadlines and poor communications.
So what should employers know about work-life integration and company culture to successfully attract talent to work for them?
what is work-life balance?
According to the latest Talent Expectation survey results, work-life balance is about having enough personal time to do the things we like with the people we care about. But it’s also more than just that.
When we look at the even distribution across all four options, we conclude that work-life balance is about time. Having adequate time for employees to focus on their work, play and live their personal lives on their own terms.
Work-life balance is having a healthy balance between personal and professional life, but it’s important to acknowledge that it carries a different definition to different individuals. Working parents may want to accommodate their work into their life and family, this would include having a manageable workload that allows them to log off punctually and spend quality time with their family and children.
For other more carefree employees, work-life balance means not being confined to one location for a set number of hours each day. They want to have the flexibility and freedom to create meaningful connections with their friends and colleagues like meeting them for lunch or coffee. Employees also want the autonomy to complete their assignments the way they prefer, as long as they can meet the deadlines.
what type of employee benefits can improve work-life balance?
It is possible that an attractive salary is enough to get people into the doors. However, opportunistic talent who are only interested in the money will almost certainly jump to the next highest bidder.
This is why many job seekers are now looking for companies that have an attractive total remuneration package that serves their needs.
When we look at the top 3 benefits that talent value, it goes back to having enough time again.
Flexible work is by far still the most attractive employee benefit to talent as they would have more personal time for themselves. If they were to go to the office, employees need to spend time getting ready and commuting to work. Few are willing to return to the office full-time after fully experiencing the benefits of flexible work.
Shorter working hours on Fridays and family care leave help employees carve out more personal time. These benefits let them take a break from work to do the things they enjoy with the people they care about. It could be attending a younger sibling’s graduation ceremony, celebrating milestones with friends over dinner, or something as simple as kicking back to watch a football match.
One of the most interesting benefits that many employees seek for better work-life integration is to have good and reliable technology. And there is a good reason for this.
Glitchy technology slows us down at work. We waste valuable time troubleshooting or waiting for IT support to come to their aid. It causes deadlines to be pushed back, and employees are forced to work overtime while juggling multiple responsibilities.
situations that lead to poor work-life balance
Even with flexible work or in a hybrid environment, poor work-life balance still exists because of deep-seated issues within the organisation.
When workloads become unmanageable, the impact of work-life balance far exceeds the inconvenience of being office-bound.
When we look at the situations that contribute to poor work-life balance, it comes back to time again. An overwhelming workload and unsupportive environment takes precious time away from employees. They spend all their time working and cut back on rest and social activities that could help them find some respite from work.
To create a people-centred work environment, companies must put extra effort into caring for their employees, such as offering more resources to help employees manage their workload and mental health. This could mean hiring additional employees to share duties, or providing training for existing workers who are ready to take on more responsibility.
When support is provided and workload is shared with the team, employees can finish work on time and build closer connections with colleagues outside of work, create memories with their partners, families and friends - consequently enabling a healthy work-life balance.
time is the most finite resource in the world
We measure our work and productivity in terms of our time, parcelling it out in 40-hour weeks working a 9-to-5 job. Even when we travel between home and the office, we want to know how much time it will take for us to commute.
No wonder much of the conversation around maintaining a healthy work-life balance involves time, how to define it and how to manage it.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that time is the world's most limited resource. We can't get it back once it's gone, so use it wisely and find a work-life balance that works for you.
download the reimagine work white paper
The Reimagine Work white paper is a comprehensive guide to help you understand the latest trends in talent management and how to create a better employee experience for the future workforce.
The paper is available for free download here:
work with randstad
Reach out to our specialised consultants for the latest talent trends or want to know more about the latest job market and workplace insights. Through market mapping and conversations with our clients and candidates, we can inform you of the latest recruitment and workplace trends that you can turn into actionable strategies to attract and retain talent.
Alternatively, if you are a job seeker seeking a better work-life balance, explore your career options and apply for a job that fits your skills and expectations. We understand that the work-life balance is a priority for many, and we want to help you find the right job for your career development that will give you the best of both worlds.
related content series:
- managing flexible work arrangements: what flexible work won’t fix
- 5 steps to build an attractive work culture in a hybrid workplace
- redefining how we work with the FUTURE framework