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How Our Definition of Work-Life Balance Has Changed Post-Pandemic

A lot can change in three years, especially when the three year span jumps from a life pre-Covid to the post-pandemic workplace. The Covid-19 Pandemic brought on many changes for the workforce, including an increase in the number of people working remotely and new and improved safety guidelines and practices. But one of the biggest shifts we’ve seen from the pre-pandemic workforce to now is that people have changed their definition of what work-life balance means.

Before the Covid-19 pandemic, many Americans thought work-life balance meant things like leaving the office an hour or two early on a Friday, using accrued PTO to take a vacation or day off here and there, or getting to go into the office late once in a while.

However since the pandemic gave many workers the opportunity to work remotely or have extended amounts of time off work due to quarantine and workplaces being temporarily closed, the idea of what work-life balance means has shifted significantly.

Now, employees want true, actual balance. They want to have the time and energy to do things like spend time with family, take vacations, and schedule necessary appointments. For working parents, they want to have increased ability to be involved in their children’s lives. They want to be able to volunteer at school or get their child to and from the bus every day instead of having to pay for before- and/or after-school care. Employees want to have the flexibility to work through lunch and close their computer an hour earlier at the end of the day, or schedule an appointment first thing in the morning and flex their working hours that day.

The workforce has come to realize that the pre-pandemic definition of work-life balance wasn’t actually balance at all…it was being able to use the benefits of their job that they earned and getting a small handout here and there.

And the workforce isn’t having it anymore.

Now workers are expecting the opportunity to work remote if it’s possible for the position, they’re using their earned PTO guilt-free, and they’re expecting to be treated as trustworthy, responsible adults who are capable of managing their own schedules and meeting deadlines while having the flexibility to also take care of their personal needs. And workplaces that aren’t willing or able to support this redefined version of work-life balance are finding it difficult to retain employees.

So how can employers support this shift in mindset?

Here are our top 10 recommendations for ways employers can promote a work-life balance for their employees given the new expectations of the workforce:

  1. Flexible Work Hours: Provide employees the opportunity to flex their work hours to accommodate things like appointments or other family obligations

  2. Remote Work Opportunities: Allow for remote working opportunities when possible

  3. Encourage PTO Use: Encourage employees to use their earned PTO

  4. Wellness Support: Encourage employees to remain home if they feel ill in order to care for themselves and get better

  5. Respect Working Hours: Respect employees’ working hours by refraining from emailing and calling outside of those established hours

  6. Parental Support: Provide increased support and flexibility for parents

  7. Outcome-Based Assessment: Focus on employees’ productivity and progress toward goals instead of number of hours spent on a task or project

  8. Designated Breaks: Encourage employees to take designated breaks away from their workspace

  9. Personalized Work Arrangements: Recognize that each employee's needs and preferences may differ and allow for personalized work arrangements that accommodate individual circumstances

  10. Professional Development: Offer resources and opportunities for skill development and career growth so that employees can feel as though they are advancing professionally

While the options for way to support improved work-life balance are endless, the list above provides some of the simplest and most appreciated ways employers can promote work-life balance for their employees.

Need support implementing any of the above initiatives? We’re happy to help! Reach out today and book a free discovery call.


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