Work-Life Balance Leads to Guilt for Some, Study Finds

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The issue of work-life balance is perhaps one of the most talked about, studied, and debated concepts in the modern workplace. This is of little surprise to those who balance parenting, home maintenance, personal life, and work life each and every day. However, the issue of work-life balance has become a bit more complex due to a recent study initiated by the University of Minnesota’s Well Being Center.

According to the study, the problem is greater than the actual allowance of work-life balance. Even when employers offer workplace alternatives, many groups of people feel guilty taking advantage of it. Dominus notes that this is especially true of men and single women without children. These particular groups possess greater guilt “presumably because they felt least entitled” to such benefits.


How does one solve this double-sided issue?

In order to provide and encourage the use of work-life balance, some believe that organizations must “devote adequate resources to helping employees actually use those policies effectively,” according to The New York Times.

Furthermore, it must be incorporated into the company’s culture, with explicit guidelines. The common denominator in companies with successful work-life balance, according to the Times, is the encouragement of schedule adjustments rather than a mere allowance.


Furthermore, work-life balance might actually be more practical than previously thought. A recent study conducted by Moen and Kelly separated Best Buy employees into two groups: one with total freedom to create their own schedules, and the other with conventional schedules. Dominus writes, “The research found that employees in the experimental group met their goals as reliably as those in the control group…They were sleeping better, were healthier and experienced less stress.”

While further studies have proven the benefits of flexibility in the workplace, some employers still feel nervous about allowing such freedom. This fear might actually make sense, as some employees might take advantage of newfound freedom. As many have noted, workplace flexibility only works for motivated, responsible employees.

 

It is important to note that initiating new policies can be done gradually. Making small concessions, analyzing the results, and then furthering those concessions allows for less error and more stability. Turning a workplace culture around entirely isn’t an overnight job; employees must keep this fact in mind, as well.

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