Thursday, May 7, 2009

The Need for Work Life Balance in Today’s Economy

Recently the subject of work life balance has found a new awakening. The concept of balancing our personal and business needs isn’t a new phenomenon however it’s become an increasingly growing trend with the development of information technology. Business week recently released a report on the demand for and necessity of work life balance during a recession. Recent studies have shown that even with the technological breakthroughs that have helped make daily tasks simpler, we can still find ourselves stressed and time crunched. These studies also show that in a stressful environment, productivity and employee wellness progressively decline, killing an organization’s profitability. These recent finding have spawned the new age of work life balance. Where employees work in their most productive time scales and shift their focus to the appropriate task at hand.

Some of the steps that Fortune 500 Companies are implementing include:

  1. Telecommuting - When employees work from home, they not only create more work time by saving the daily commute, but they also save the overhead cost of a rented or owned business facility. One of the biggest innovators in this is Capital One who is promoting a work from home option to all levels of management.
  2. Flexible Schedules - The Corporate Executive Board conducted a research survey asking employees what the most important aspect of their employer was. They found that “In the current economic environment, work-life balance now ranks as one of the most important workplace attributes—second only to compensation.” Their article describes this balance as “The gift of time.” Many large companies offer their employees free time for education, physical fitness, or personal errands. Or they may offer company gym memberships or discount meals as a way for employees to make the best use of their daily time.
  3. Education – Many of us just don’t know where to start when it comes to balancing our lives. What is the most important activity we do every day? What activities will help me be more productive? These questions are all addressed in each of our Work Life Balance Workshops. We recently added a resource to our website called Creating Sanity. This is a free self evaluation that we offer workshop participants to help them balance their priorities.

This month Innovations International celebrates its one-year anniversary in becoming a virtual organization. Our employees all balance their home and work life while assisting our clients with successful initiatives in leadership, diversity, creativity and work life balance. The learning we experienced has given us the in depth knowledge that we bring to each of our clients as we assist them in making a similar transition.

Kathleen DiFrancesco
Director of Marketing
Innovations International

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