Nicole Dunn is the CEO of Dunn Pellier Media, Inc; PR for the fitness, health and wellness sector.
Decades prior to the pandemic, work-life balance was similar for nearly everyone who worked in an office environment. People worked from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, doing most of their “life” after work and on weekends. Obviously, the pandemic forced many employees out of the office into a hybrid or even fully remote working scenario, and this shifted office routines to a new paradigm. The modern workforce has lost its grip on the traditional balance, mixing work with private life more than ever.
The truth is that there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to work-life balance. But most leaders don’t spend enough time thinking of ways to balance employees in their happiness, engagement and productivity. Professional burnout is a huge problem and has led to many employees quitting to create a healthier work-life balance. To understand the extent of professional burnout, 50 million people have quit their jobs since 2021. That’s a huge number of people who were fed up and lacked the flexibility in their work. They don’t demand blurry lines anymore.
Which jobs have the best work-life balance?
Work-life balance can be found in all sectors. According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, careers where personal well-being, flexibility and work-life balance go hand in hand are, for example, software or web developers, doctor’s assistants, dentists, fitness instructors, consultants, accountants and real estate agents.
Among the jobs with the best work-life balance, there are a few similarities I’ve seen. Most of these positions allow for a flexible schedule and are usually work that is more rewarding than just a salary. In addition, they are jobs where you have a certain amount of choice in what work you want to do instead of everything being determined by someone else. They are also usually jobs with built-in flexibility in the work environment, giving you the freedom to work from the comfort of home, in a connecting hybrid space, or even when traveling.
How do I offer my employees a better work-life balance?
An important aspect of work-life balance that you as an employer may have control over is being candid about the corporate culture and flexibility your company offers. Most now offer completely remote positions or a hybrid scenario, while providing self-care benefits such as employee wellness days, summer vacations and even incorporating workspaces where teams meet once a year in a vacation-like environment to bond. and connect.
Offering flexibility to employees who prefer to work outside the standard 9-to-5 structure also makes more sense for parents who need to pick up their kids early in the afternoon or for a team member who feels most productive when they work in the evenings rather than mornings. You can also provide an extra layer of flexibility by allocating a few extra vacation days (or mental health days) to your HR plan. This gives employees more room to adapt when other areas of life, outside of work, need more attention than usual.
As an employee, how do I ask about work-life balance during a job interview?
There are a few key things you can ask about to get a sense of the work-life balance a position or company can provide. Ask about how much flexibility employees have in both scheduling and environment. In addition, ask what the company is doing to support the well-being of its employees.
It may feel intimidating to ask these questions in an interview for a job you’re excited about, but remember that you’re interviewing them too. If the company offers some degree of flexibility to employees or has programs and processes to support the mental and physical health of their team, they’ll be excited to talk about it in an interview. And if they don’t offer flexibility or wellness support, you’ll want to factor that into your decision to move forward with the business. There is nothing to lose in gathering more information.
How do I achieve a work-life balance for myself?
Creating and maintaining a strong sense of work-life balance is all about healthy boundaries between work and the rest of your life. Work is only part of the mosaic of our lives. From relationships to wellness to our homes and recreation, so many things to put energy into to find that balance.
Keep an eye on your personal limits and make sure to set aside time for breaks during the workday. I recommend taking a five to fifteen minute break to take a walk around the block, enjoy a healthy snack, connect with a friend, or give your pet some ear scratches. This will help you be more aware of what you need to do to live up to what is expected of your role, while also taking some “me-time”.
Americans work in a new way and the US job market shows that the trend of more balance within a job is now a top priority. Many people realize that the old way of working doesn’t work for everyone. Employers can benefit from having employees create schedules that are less rigid and take that balance into account. But work-life balance looks different for everyone. So now you get the question: what does it look like for me?