The Truth About Work-Life Balance

by | 27 Apr 2022

Work-life balance is a phrase we hear being thrown around a lot, and as a specialist recruiter, we notice that many of our candidates are putting it at the top of their priority list when seeking their next role.

But what actually is work-life balance? And how can it be achieved? While it is often disputed whether work-life balance is actually obtainable, there is a general consensus that the need for flexibility is growing.

The truth about work-life balance is that it is now more important than ever for employers to offer it and employees to find it.

Why is work-life balance important?

With many workers having worked from home throughout the pandemic, returning to the office is unappealing for some. This has many workers weighing up their options in order to achieve a better balance between work and home.

Working overtime, stress and burnout have been key drivers in the desire for better balance. This need for change, coupled with a significant skills shortage throughout Australia, has meant that workers have a lot more choice in a competitive market.

For this reason, hiring employees has become more competitive than ever, with businesses looking for ways to attract and retain top talent. But new surveys have shown that dollars aren’t the only aspect influencing prospective employee decisions.

According to a survey conducted by Deloitte Australia, job seekers felt flexibility and balance were of equal importance as salary.

What does a good work-life balance look like?

Many businesses have quickly caught onto this shift toward work-life balance and have subsequently remodelled to accommodate better flexibility in the workplace. Those who are yet to adjust to this growing need find it increasingly difficult to retain employees and unable to attract new talent.

From hybrid working models and 32 hour work weeks to longer breaks and more leave options, work-life balance looks different for each business and employee. This is demonstrated in a recent survey from Seek on work-life balance:

Seek stats show what work-life balance means to Aussie employees.

Australian Red Cross Human Resources Director, Chris Steinfort encourages businesses to measure output, not hours worked, stating that “the most productive worker isn’t always sitting in the office at a desk.”

How can you offer a better work-life balance?

As an employer, it is essential to consider what you are offering. The job landscape is highly competitive and changing rapidly, and the once attractive benefits (like gym memberships or free training) may now have little sway. So what can you do to help your employees achieve a better work-life balance?

Management expert, Charles Handy points out that work-life balance begins when “companies see themselves as communities whose members have individual needs, as well as individual skills and talents. [Employees] are not anonymous human resources”.

In essence, providing a better work-life balance could be as simple as recognising each person’s value and showing more support. This could be as simple as allowing parents to drop off and pick up kids without worrying about making up the time or allowing people to work from home on occasion if they feel they can be more productive without the office distractions.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to offering better work-life balance, but here are some easy tips to help you find a model that suits your business and employees:

1. Investigate what your competitors are doing, and then look at what companies renowned for their work-life balance are doing, like those nominated for the Employer of Choice awards.

2. Ask your employees what flexibility looks like to them and what they might like to see implemented. You might find there are things you hadn’t thought of.

3. Trial different options to see what works. There might be multiple models or a combination of them.

Good work-life balance ultimately improves employee retention, satisfaction and productivity; a win-win for businesses. Call the team at Godfrey Group today on 02 8004 9350, and let us help you find the top talent in your industry.

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