Do you know how to deal with burnout? Burnout is bad news for employers because according to Harvard Business Review, the psychological and physical problems of burned-out employees cost an estimated $125 billion to $190 billion a year in healthcare spending in the United States.
However, fixing this problem isn’t as difficult as you might think. Maintaining work-life balance can help reduce stress and prevent burnout in the workplace. Recent research from Gallup, for instance, notes that workers who spend about three to four days a week working offsite are substantially more engaged in their jobs than traditional counterparts who are stuck behind desks all day.
So, what’s the cure for our work-life balance problem? Remote work. In this post, we’ll explain how giving workers more control over their environment makes them happier and more productive.
What are the health effects of chronic stress?
Before we discuss work-life balance we have to understand the consequences of managing it poorly. Chronic stress is one of the most common health issues in the workplace. Employees who experience this stress often find themselves in a nearly constant state of heightened alertness. It leads to symptoms like fatigue, lack of concentration, difficulty sleeping, and low self-esteem.
Why is work-life balance important?
Work-life balance is vital to millennials and the millennial generation is projected to take up 75% of the workforce by 2025. This generation wants to find a career path that will support their “lifestyle,” and contribute to a healthy work-life balance. In fact, the 2017 Workplace Benefits Report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch found that 59% of millennials report that they’re concerned about finding a career path that will support the lifestyle they imagine for themselves.
Beyond appealing to the millennial generation, concerns about work-life balance continue. Jobs that create a bad work-life balance can put businesses at risk. A recent Gallup study revealed that 23 percent (or nearly 7,500) full-time employees report “feeling burnt out at work very often or always,” while 44 percent say they “felt burned out sometimes.” That means around two-thirds of the workforce is affected by feelings of burnout. This stress reduces their ability to complete tasks on time and puts teams or departments in jeopardy.
How can employers create a healthy work-life balance?
Data shows that creating a flexible work environment is one of the best ways to satisfy the work-life balance needs of most employees. Researchers from the University of Minnesota conducted a study to determine if flexible schedules increased employees’ overall well-being and healthful behavior. They found that employees with flexible schedules were able to get more sleep, take care of health issues, and feel more energized throughout the workday.
Remote work is a big factor in this equation. Offering remote work is the ultimate way to provide flexibility for employees. Working from home allows employers to give their team more control over their time. This, in turn, helps employees achieve a better work-life balance. Sometimes, the lines between work and home can get blurry, but when employees can schedule their day and stay consistent, they’ll be more effective.
How does remote work improve work-life harmony?
Helping employees achieve a good work-life balance enhances work satisfaction and their loyalty to their employer. This also helps employers achieve career longevity. Additionally, there are advantages of working remotely, including higher job satisfaction and higher organizational commitment.
One of the greatest benefits of remote work is that there’s no commute. In a study completed by TransitCenter almost 50% of respondents say their commute is getting worse. These bad commutes contribute to a high turnover rate for employers.
Among respondents whose commute is getting worse and who are also concerned with the cost of commuting, there’s an even higher percentage (63%) who are vulnerable to leaving their job. Moreover, 79% consider flextime important in their new jobs and nearly 75% of those surveyed consider telecommuting important.
Have you keyed in on a common theme yet? More time equals more flexibility. According to recent research from the UK’s Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service (Acas), flexible work arrangements can actually improve the effectiveness of both individuals and teams — with 91% of HR professionals reporting that employees were more engaged and satisfied with a flexible working arrangement. Remote work gets rid of the commute and provides more flextime. These are attractive benefits for people in the market for a new full-time role.
Who is doing this right?
You may be wondering: who are the companies that are winning with employees and offering a good work-life balance? Comparably, a compensation, culture and career-monitoring site, conducted an anonymous survey to determine the best companies for work-life balance. Here’s a look at some of the most important discoveries:
Comparably’s key findings
- 51% of people in design jobs and 49% of people in IT jobs say they feel burned out. These two industries represent the highest rates of burnout from those participating in the survey.
- Only 34% of employees from the top 25 winning companies felt burnt out in comparison with 53% of employees from all other companies.
- 29% of people say their bosses expect them to work even on their vacation.
- People ages 18 to 25 reported the highest rates of working on their vacation to keep up with their bosses’ expectations (37%).
- People in business development are called upon most during vacation time (44%).
- 33% say work-life balance is their number one concern over compensation, advancement and job stability.
What can employers learn from the study?
There are a few takeaways that are worth considering from this data:
- Employees don’t generally associate working more than 40 hours with optimal work-life balance, and one’s commute to work can be a source of stress.
- Employees generally want to work in a place where they feel like family comes first.
- Employees want to see leaders cultivating cultures that support work-life balance.
It won’t be long before millennials make up the majority of the workforce. To them, a healthy work-life balance is becoming a requirement when they consider taking a job. Now, more than ever, they’re looking for more telecommuting and flextime opportunities to reduce stress at work. Employers who offer these opportunities are attracting top talent.
Remote work reduces stress and helps prevent burnout by removing commuting time and providing more flexibility. Companies can make employees happier and more fulfilled by giving workers more control over their personal lives and the ability to find work-life balance.