After Nearly a Half Century, Work-Life Is More Relevant Than Ever

Work-Life Is More Relevant Than Ever

The evolution of the work-life industry has been nothing short of incredible.

At its dawn, in the late 1970s and early 1980s, the work-life movement was basically a response to two workplace trends: 1) the rapidly growing ranks of working mothers who needed caregiving assistance, and 2) the number of employees who needed help coping with personal issues that affected their job performance. In other words, the entire work-life universe at that time consisted of dependent care and EAP programs.

Today, however, work-life encompasses nearly every facet of our lives: work arrangements and schedules … job design and structure … opportunities for professional growth and development … personal health and wellness … caring for families and loved ones … even our workplace cultures.

Although it’s been around for nearly half a century, the work-life movement is more relevant than ever.

Blurring Work-Life Boundaries
One reason for work-life’s enduring significance is the line between our work and private lives is increasingly blurry. People today have access to tools and technologies—both at work and at home—that allow them to remain connected to their work. Indeed, more and more individuals use their personal devices for work-related tasks, and some employers actually expect their people to be accessible 24/7.

All this persistent connectivity and accessibility has created widespread work-life imbalance and health problems among workers across the world. This was underscored recently by research from the University of Zurich, which found that blurring boundaries between work and personal life can erode workers’ sense of well-being and lead to burnout and exhaustion.

A recent survey of more than 2,800 professionals by LinkedIn found that half of them report feeling stressed in their jobs, and 70% say the biggest driver of their stress is a lack of work-life balance.

Work-Life Quest Spans Generations

Work-Life Quest Spans Generations
The search for better work-life balance is cross-generational. It might have begun with the Baby Boomers but it has spread to Generation X and Millennials as well. As benefits advisory firm JP Griffin Group points out, all three groups in today’s workforce “crave a healthy balance between their working lives and time spent outside the office,” but they also recognize that work-life balance is about more than controlling their work schedules. Salary, benefits, retirement planning, child care, elder care, and doing work that matters are all part of their evolving definitions of work-life integration and balance.

Over the years, employers have grown increasingly committed to addressing all of these needs, and work-life offerings have progressed far beyond that initial roster of dependent care and EAP programs (although these still form the core of today’s integrated work-life programs).

Naturally, work-life benefits wouldn’t still be around if they hadn’t proven their worth long ago. Among the more recent studies bearing out this merit of work-life programs is the Federal Work-Life Survey, conducted by the Office of Personnel Management (an independent agency of the U.S federal government that manages its civilian workforce). The survey revealed that people who participate in work-life balance programs:

  • Are more likely to exceed performance expectations
  • Better advance the mission of their agency
  • Enhance their ability to manage stress
  • And are better able to improve their health

In addition, the survey found that work-life programs have a positive impact on recruitment, retention and job performance at federal agencies. Based on these findings, federal agencies plan to continue enhancing the work-life support they provide to employees.

The Evolution Will Continue
The quest for better work-life integration and balance will evolve in the years ahead, especially as the workforce continues to change (it will comprise five generations by 2020 or so) and revise its definitions of what constitutes work-life balance.

For instance, the research from JP Griffin Group mentioned above shows that younger generations of workers are much more interested in preventing burnout. As a result, they’re already putting pressure on employers to change traditional ways of working. They want more flexibility and the opportunity to design their own jobs and careers.

Whatever shape the future of work takes, one thing is sure: work-life integration will remain as relevant—and as much in demand—as it has been over the past 50 years.

If you’d like to discuss how a world-class work-life program could serve your organization and its people, contact us here or call us at 1-(866) 675-3751.

The Benefits of Backup Care

The Benefits of Backup Care

Changes to an employee’s routine can be tough, especially for working families. They can be faced with unexpected challenges like inclement weather, illness, caregiver holidays or vacations and many other temporary disruptions for regular care arrangements. As those days add up, their work may start to suffer, leading to losses in productivity and engagement and increased stress, hurting both the employees, their coworkers and the organization’s bottom line.

In fact, according to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), 6.7% of payroll costs are due to unplanned employee absences. Additionally, the same study found that unplanned absences result in an average productivity loss of 36.6% and even impacts coworkers by adding to their workload, increasing stress, disrupting the work of others, hurting morale and reducing the quality of work.

That’s why a Backup Care benefit makes good business sense. Backup Care programs can help employees secure and pay for temporary care when their normal plans are disrupted, so they can get to work and focus with peace of mind knowing their loved ones are cared for. Here are some of the top benefits that a Backup Care program can offer:

Save the stress
When an employee gets that call saying their regular care arrangements are cancelled, panic will most likely set in and they’ll find themsleves scrambling. Will they have to miss work? Who will watch their loved one? Will they be safe? Having flexible backup care options available takes the stress out of those emergency care changes.

The power of choice
When employees are thrown off their regular routine, it’s nice to know that there is a flexible, dependable solution available. A backup care program can identify reliable, prescreened centers and in-home care providers in their area, even at the last minute. Some programs even allow employees to enlist and pay friends and family members that they know and trust.

Get employees work
It happens, your employee’s nanny gets sick, their daycare closes during a snow storm or their parent’s caregiver has a last minute emergency. Then they find themselves in a tough spot, forced to choose between staying home and caring for their loved one or getting to work. Your job can’t be put on hold and you don’t want constant absences to affect your career. Backup Care programs allow you to find reliable care, get to work with confidence and focus on your job knowing that your loved ones are in skilled hands.

Better for the budget
Scrambling for last minute care might force employees to pay for a higher priced option than they had budgeted for, or even face lost wages if they can’t find a suitable option and have to miss work. Backup Care programs offer access to a variety of low cost options so they don’t have to take a big hit to their bank account.

Not just for kids
Nowadays workers don’t just experience gaps in care for their children, they facing adult, pet and self care issues as well. With backup care programs they can get coverage for the entire family, not just their kids. This is also a high-value, inclusive employee benefit when you consider that you’re supporting your full workforce, not just parents that can help recruit and retain top talent.

Give peace of mind
It’s hard to leave loved ones in the care of someone else, especially when it’s a new provider. This can lead to increased presenteeism when employees are worried all day and unable to focus on their work. Best in class backup care programs will vet the caregivers that are available, so employees don’t have to start researching and interviewing from scratch.  The program can secure care on their behalf at a fully credentialed child care center or with a highly qualified in-home professional.

Plan ahead to get ahead
Sometimes it’s not just those last minute mishaps that throw employees for a loop. They might know well in advance that you’ll be facing a gap in care for a holiday, caregiver vacation or some other planned event, but they still need to find alternate care coverage. Backup care programs allow employees to reserve reliable temporary care in advance so they aren’t left hanging.

Business case for backup care
Employers benefit from offering Backup Care programs, too! Working parents can be distracted and stressed by family care concerns, drastically impacting their productivity. In fact, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, companies in the U.S. experienced an estimated $74 billion in direct costs and lost opportunities due to unplanned absences and over 20% of those absences were due to family issues including breakdowns in child and adult care.

As the provider of the industry’s most flexible backup care, with the highest placement and satisfaction rates in the industry, we see every day how this service can help working families. Our Backup Care Connection program gets more employees to work by offering unparalleled choice, flexibility and options for cost reimbursement. To learn more about how we can help you with your Backup Care needs, contact us here or call (833) 282-3366.

How Can Our Specialists Help?

Our specialists can find solutions for almost anything an employee may need, from the everyday to the one-of-a-kind.

In this video, our specialists talk about some of the many real ways they’ve helped our members find solutions. Available 24/7 to locate personalized solutions for all of our members, our highly trained specialists are experts in their fields so your employees don’t have to be.

To learn more about the many ways we can help your employees save time, money and stress, contact us here or call us at (866) 675-3751!