Things that were previously unnecessarily difficult for employees became simple—e.g., not taking PTO to receive a package, letting a repair person in, or washing laundry while working.
Family care, one of the largest reasons for employees leaving the workforce, also became easier to manage. Employees working from home can be with their sick or elderly family members and keep an eye on their kids who attended remote school during the pandemic.
Employees also reduced time and costs. Flexible work arrangements cut down on commuting times, which allows employees to spend more time with family. Those with young children reported being able to be home in time for dinner and spend time with their young kids before bedtime. Not being in the workplace meant buying less gas, putting fewer miles on their cars, avoiding buying lunch out, and saving on daycare costs, among other things.
All the while, employees are largely successful in managing their work responsibilities. Many employees report:
being more productive at home,
not spending time commuting, or
having distracting workplace conversations.
Every employee’s situation is different. Rather than having strictly separate work and personal lives, employees can weave their work and personal lives in a way that works for them.
The above are only a few illustrations of the ways that flexible work arrangements have contributed to employees’ work-life balance. Many employees are unwilling to give up that flexibility after experiencing how it works for them.
Because of the hybrid work shift, employers should be mindful that employees’ work lives have changed in ways that aren’t always visible to employers, but are nevertheless significant. If the duties of the job allow it, employers should trust employees to get their jobs done as they wish.
Promoting the Intangibles to Attract and Retain Talent
Employees spend a significant amount of their lives at work. For the employer looking to retain and attract talent, it is helpful to remember exactly that—employees spend significant parts of their lives at work, not just a significant amount of time. This distinction is important. Work is part of employees’ lives, and employees want to work somewhere that contributes to their overall quality of life.