Only 53 percent of workers say their employer values work-life balance, and only 43 percent say their employers offer programs and policies that allow for flexibility, according to a 2016 survey from the American Psychological Association.
Yet, nearly half of American workers would forgo the corner-office job and a high salary to gain more flexibility in their schedules. And Millennials value work-life balance higher than all other job characteristics such as job progression, use of technology, and a sense of meaning at work.
Achieving a fluid balance between work and life can improve physical, mental, and social health. Some studies have correlated taking time off from work with a reduction in health issues like coronary heart disease. Authors of Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength, John Tierney and Ron Baumeister, state that midday breaks can replenish an employee’s willpower and improve judgment and decision-making in the afternoon. Removing oneself from work also allows for more time to invest in social relationships—with a spouse, kids, friends, family, and so on.
Research shows that employees who take time off are more productive. Removing oneself from work, via a workout or nap for example, can recharge the brain to face the day’s remaining challenges. In the Harvard Business Review article “The Productivity Paradox: How Sony Pictures Gets More Out of People by Demanding Less,” Tony Schwartz wrote, “Human beings perform best and are most productive when they alternate between periods of intense focus and intermittent renewal.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Ryan Jenkins is an internationally-recognized keynote speaker and author on the topics of leadership, generational differences, and the future of work. He is the co-founder of SyncLX, which creates lasting learning experiences for companies' #1 asset, their people.
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