A Business Case for Work-Life Balance Offerings

A Business Case for Work-Life Balance Offerings

By Sonda Sorg, metro market manager of Robert Half in Indianapolis. 

In more than 22 years as an employment expert in Indianapolis, I’ve witnessed many cycles of Indiana’s labor market and the resulting workplace trends that have emerged within the last two decades. Part of my job is advising clients on how to plan for and address their staffing issues, whether the economy favors job seekers or companies in that moment. In recent years, Indiana’s unemployment rate tracked below the national rate, meaning employers across the state had to contend with an especially tight hiring market and a shallower pool of available candidates. As a result, organizations have needed to get more creative with their offerings, going beyond providing the standard benefits to attract skilled talent.

October is National Work and Family Month, an observance federally recognized since 2003 and a campaign designed to celebrate the progress towards creating healthier and more flexible work environments. With open enrollment and seasonal hiring around the corner, it’s the perfect time for companies to assess their workplace flexibility and wellness offerings. While work-life balance is generally lauded as a good thing for workers, employers may not realize all the business benefits that come with providing these programs to their staff.

Reputation, Recruiting and Retention

One of the major advantages of promoting work-life effectiveness programs is they increase the marketability of businesses. Offering flexible work schedules or telecommuting options to workers are low-to-no cost solutions used to improve the firm’s reputation while boosting employee satisfaction. One Indianapolis company I’ve worked with even brings in a barber once a week to provide haircuts, a perk many workers find timesaving. New research by Robert Half revealed the most common perks offered at companies: flexible work schedules or telecommuting options (50%), paid parental leave (47%) and employee discounts (42%).

Additionally, in a survey by OfficeTeam, 73% of U.S. workers said a company’s health and wellness offerings influence their decision to work there. In the same survey, however, 20% of U.S. companies admitted they don’t offer any health and wellness options. Because so many companies do offer flexibility and wellness programs, organizations that don’t provide them can lose out on hiring and retaining great employees.

A majority of candidates today are taking a holistic approach to considering job offers, especially since nearly six in 10 workers (59%) have received two or more offers simultaneously when applying for jobs. Companies that recognize employee health goes beyond traditional benefits and offer flexibility, wellness programs and perks are more likely to land and retain top talent. However, one in four (25%) Indianapolis workers surveyed by Robert Half in 2018 rated their work-life balance as fair to poor, a sign there’s room for improvement.

In Robert Half’s research on workplace happiness, we found that happy employees make more tangible contributions to their organizations. When workers feel empowered by a corporate culture where work-life balance is present, employers often reap the benefits of a happier, loyal and more productive workforce. Here are a few flexible work arrangements that can help professionals better manage their personal and career duties:

  • TelecommutingTelecommuting allows employees to spend all or a portion of the week working from home or from another non-company site. In a Robert Half survey, more than three-quarters of the workers polled said they’d be more likely to accept a job offer if they could telecommute at least some of the time.
  • Flextime — Flextime refers to any arrangement that gives employees options for structuring their workday or work week. They’re given the opportunity to choose (within certain parameters) their own start and stop times — provided they work the required number of hours each day. More typically, employees operating under flexible work arrangements are expected to be on the job during certain core hours of the workday.
  • Compressed workweek — Under this arrangement, employees work the normal number of hours but complete those hours in fewer than five days. The most common variation of the compressed workweek is the so-called 4/10, in which employees work four 10-hour days instead of five eight-hour days. Employees often appreciate this arrangement as it provides an extra day at home, thus improving work-life balance.

The Bottom Line

The business benefits of providing these work-life balance initiatives include but are not limited to:

  • Improved morale and happier workers
  • Increased employee engagement and commitment
  • Lower stress levels among staff
  • Decreased turnover
  • Better productivity
  • Competitive advantage in recruiting and retention

If your business is still among those wondering if you should allow workplace flexibility options to your workers, you might want to start thinking more about when you will do it and how soon you can start. By giving employees some measure of flexibility and control over their work schedules, organizations make it easier for them to manage non-job-related responsibilities and maintain work-life balance.