Despite Economic Woes, Americans Still Seriously Concerned About Work/Life Balance

Sept. 1, 2010
Often overlooked amid talk about job figures and financial data, the issue of disrupted work/life balance is another way that the economic downturn has taken a toll on the American public, with families bearing the brunt of the suffering from this problem.

With the economy experiencing its worst struggles since the Great Depression, it may be tempting to think that those with jobs should be happy and not complain. Yet, a vast majority of Americans (89 percent) see work/life balance issues as a problem, including 54 percent who say it is a “significant problem.”

Moreover, the “Great Recession” has made the situation worse for close to 4 in 10 workers: 38 percent, say their work/life balance has become worse since the recession started, while only 10 percent say that it has improved.

These are just some of the statistics generated by a recent survey of 1,043 Americans conducted by polling firm StrategyOne, including 613 who work either full-or part-time.

“Far from having disappeared from public consciousness, the issue of work life balance remains a concern to American workers – even despite – and perhaps because of – the severe economic downturn,” said Bradley Honan, vice president of StrategyOne, who authored the study. Polling data among full- and part-time workers shows that this issue has an impact on fully one-third of the workforce, with middle-aged men (ages 34–54) most likely to say they do not have an adequate work/life balance (44 percent).

This is an issue with consequences beyond the workplace. When Americans’ work/life balance is disrupted, families bear the brunt. Thirty-seven percent of those polled say that time with family is the first thing that suffers when the work/life balance is out of whack, while 22 percent say that personal time is most affected.

Further, there appears to be more that companies can do to address this issue. Nearly half of American workers (43 percent) said their company is not doing enough to address work/life balance issues.

“Far from just being happy they have a job, significant numbers of American workers are asking companies to step up to the plate and address this issue more effectively,” said Honan. “Workers are being asked to do ‘more with less’ and the strain on them is clearly showing.”

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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