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More workers say employers are prioritizing work-life balance

Hoping to provide staff members with more relief and avoid the inevitable burnout that results from all work and no play, an increasing number of employers are prioritizing work-life balance, and workers have taken notice, a new survey suggests.

Compared to three years ago, more than a third of employees – 36 percent – say they’re more effectively balancing their work with their personal dealings, according to a recent poll conducted by Robert Half, a staffing services firm. Indeed, 13 percent say it’s improved significantly, with 24 percent feeling their work-life balance has gotten at least somewhat better.

Nearly 88 percent of workers describe boss as supportive

Though handling these two priorities can be a difficult juggling act, human resources experts say employers can make the task simpler by laying the groundwork, or establishing an environment that cultivates work-life balance. For the most part, managers are doing this very thing. When respondents were asked how supportive their employer was in this regard, 43 percent said “very,” with 44 percent only “somewhat,” the poll found.

David King, executive vice president at Robert Half International, indicated that employers understand not only the importance of keeping workers happy, but also that finding the proper balance helps increase productivity.

“Professional environments that reap the benefits of work-life balance are the ones that consider evolving worker preferences and trends, while actively promoting these opportunities to attract potential employees and keep current teams motivated,” King explained. “To underscore how valuable work-life balance is to the company, managers must personally demonstrate their commitment.”

20 percent of workers say manager is ‘excellent’ example

Managers, according to workers themselves, appear to be leading by example. Two-thirds of respondents described their boss as someone who was “good” or “excellent” at embodying actions that foster work-life balance, rather than simply talking about it, the survey showed. Only 11 percent said their manager was a poor example.

“Leading by example is an imperative,” King added. “When staff witness their managers taking the opportunity to unplug and recharge, they’re likelier to follow suit – which supports a more productive and engaged workforce.”

Ontario lawmakers are endeavoring to make both managers and employees’ lives more balanced with the Fair Workplaces, Better Jobs Act. In addition to raising the minimum wage, successful passage of the bill would ensure part-time and temporary workers are compensated at the same rate as full-time employees, assuming they perform the same job function. Additionally, tenured employees would be entitled to three weeks of paid vacation time and granted 27 weeks of family medical leave in the typical calendar year.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne indicated the proposed rule changes make work conditions fairer and more equitable for everyone.

“The economy has changed,” Wynne said. Work has changed. It’s time our laws and protections for workers changed too.”

Should the sweeping legislation pass, which also includes changes to interest on unpaid wages as well as amendments to the Labor Relations Act, the new regulations would go into effect sometime early next year.