Junior staff are the most in need of a clear work-life balance and could be missing out on crucial workplace support, according to new research from income protection specialists Unum.
The Future Workplace report found that two in five junior level employees believe a good work-life balance helps them perform better at work and increases happiness in their personal life, compared with less than a third of those at board level and above (29 percent).
Separating work and personal life was also important for this group, with 25 percent of clerical and non-managerial workers saying they prefer not to mix the two. This was compared with just 14 percent of senior managers and directors who felt the same way.
The need for a better work-life balance stems from a growing concern about the modern day, hyper-connected digital lifestyle, where employees are expected to be constantly switched on and available. Almost three quarters of British workers today feel they are expected to continuously be available for work.
Linda Levesque, Vice President of HR Benefits at Unum, says:
“Business leaders need to be conscious of the diverse needs of employees at all levels when considering how best to support staff. By looking at an individual’s age and life situation, as well as their role and job demands, employers can provide a tailored benefits package, which is one of the most tangible ways to protect staff wellbeing. Employers are often very good at looking after senior staff who are perceived as having higher levels of stress, but they are in danger of overlooking the needs of junior and non-managerial workers. Benefits like Income Protection, which supports employees financially if they fall ill as well as Mental Health First Aid training for line managers, help organisations demonstrate they understand the needs of all staff members. Through providing practical support for staff, employers can help prevent periods of extended illness and absence for employees right across the organisation.”
Highlighted in the report, junior workers in particular are feeling increasingly overwhelmed by the tools and means of communication they use on a daily basis. It found they are more than ever prioritising personal fulfillment and wellbeing during the day. Almost half of junior staff members (45 percent) strongly agreed that taking care of mental clarity and wellbeing is as important as their physical wellbeing, compared to a third of senior managers and directors.
Perceptions of flexible working as the key to a better work-life balance differed significantly. With clerical workers being three times more likely than board level members to strongly disagree that having flexibility at work and being able to work from home regularly helps towards wellbeing.