October is National Work and Family Month – How do Americans Feel About Work-Life Balance?

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Poll from Workplace Options reveals that working Americans are mostly satisfied with boundaries between work and home, but feel uncomfortable taking time off.

Not taking time away from the office can negatively impact employee productivity the same way that always being ‘plugged in’ or working 70 hours a week can.

October marks the 10-year anniversary of National Work and Family Month, a time when businesses, advocacy groups, academic institutions and individuals are called upon to strategically think about work-life balance. Are employees happy with their boundaries between work and home? What can employers do to make employees feel more satisfied with time spent both in and out of the office?

A national poll from work-life and employee effectiveness services provider Workplace Options reveals that for the most part, American workers are satisfied with work-life balance.

Poll results showed:

  •     59 percent of respondents do not wish they had more of a boundary between work and family
  •     6 out of 10 (62 percent) do not feel pressured to respond to work-related emails or phone calls outside of work hours
  •     Just 27 percent feel that technology has worsened work-related stress

“With all of the emphasis on a lack of work-life balance in the United States, these poll findings are positive for employers,” said Dean Debnam, chief executive officer of Workplace Options. “Still, there is some room for improvement, with 4 out of 10 employees desiring more of a boundary between work and family time.”

Taking Time Off

While the majority of respondents indicated that they are satisfied with their boundaries between work and family, taking time off is another story.

Poll results showed:

  •     More than half of respondents (58 percent) said that their employers do not encourage them to use paid time off and holidays
  •     45 percent of respondents feel compelled to check in on work while on vacation; 34 percent feel that their supervisor expects them to do so
  •     American workers feel most comfortable taking off a short amount of time from work: 71 percent feel comfortable taking one day off of work; 64 percent feel comfortable taking off a few days; 59 percent would feel comfortable taking a full week off of work; and just 39 percent feel comfortable taking off more than a full week

“Work-life balance doesn’t begin and end with the average work day,” said Debnam. “If your employees don’t feel comfortable using their vacation days, they might face issues associated with a lack of work-life balance: burn out, disengagement and presenteeism, just to name a few.”

“Not taking time away from the office can negatively impact employee productivity the same way that always being ‘plugged in’ or working 70 hours a week can,” Debnam continued. “Companies should make sure employees take advantage of the benefits offered to them, including paid time off.”

The national survey was conducted by the North Carolina firm of Public Policy Polling, September 18-19, 2013. The survey polled 537 working Americans and has a margin of error of +/- 4.2%. View complete poll results HERE.

About Workplace Options
Workplace Options helps employees balance their work, family and personal life in order to make their lives healthier, easier and more productive. The company’s world-class employee support and work-life services provide information, resources, referrals and consultation on a variety of issues ranging from dependent care, legal and financial issues to stress management and wellness.

Drawing from an international network of credentialed providers and professionals, Workplace Options is the world’s largest integrated employee support services and work-life provider. Service centers in Raleigh, N.C., London, Toronto, Dublin, Singapore, Panama and Tokyo support more than 42 million employees in over 32,000 organizations, across more than 200 countries and territories. To learn more, visit http://www.workplaceoptions.com.

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Alexis Hourselt
Workplace Options
1-800-699-8011 71724
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