For many Canadian workers, work-life balance is an elusive concept as the line between home life and work life is blurring. From work emails while on vacation to the feeling of being on call, Canadian workers are increasingly doing work activities at home – and home activities at work.
Randstad’s latest Global Workmonitor survey polled workers in 29 countries. In Canada, the survey found the overlap between work and private time is substantial. Forty-six percent of employed Canadians surveyed handle private matters during working hours and slightly more – 51 percent – handle work-related matters in private time. Over half (53 percent) report receiving call/emails outside of office hours, 44 percent receive calls/emails on holiday, 29 percent believe they are expected to be available 24/7 and 43 percent say they feel they fall short if not responding immediately.
Stacy Parker, Executive Vice President of Marketing for Randstad Canada says technology has merged our working and personal lives, creating a more unified experience. “Technology has redefined the traditional workplace as we know it. For instance, employees are working at home, shopping at work, attending school at home, connecting to training webinars at work, and learning new job skills from their children and grandchildren. No generation has ever been this connected, and for good and bad, there is a fusion going on between home and work. We don’t stop living when we go to work and, very often today, we don’t stop working when we arrive home,” she says.
But According to Parker, this kind of work-life conflict can become a serious problem that impacts both employees and employers.
“Today’s workers have many competing responsibilities: work, children, housework, volunteering, and so on. Balancing all of these things can be stressful. Based on past research which ranked what 7,000 of Canada’s job seekers where looking for in an employer, we have in fact found that almost half of the respondents (48%) indicated having a good work life balance as one of the most attractive qualities in a potential employer,” says Parker.
Additionally, employers are becoming increasingly aware of the cost implications associated with over-worked employees, with things like operating and productivity costs, absenteeism, punctuality, commitment and performance all being negatively affected. In the end, it benefits employers just as much as it benefits employees to instill practices that will ultimately allow employees to achieve work-life balance.
Parker emphasizes that work life balance is all about creating and maintaining supportive and healthy work environments. “Employees and employers should both take the initiative to take the necessary steps towards achieving a healthy balance between work and personal responsibilities,” she says. “This helps strengthen employee loyalty, productivity, and overall happiness – making it a win-win scenario for everyone involved.”
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