- Having an adequate work-life balance has become increasing important to today’s workforce.
- To that end, competition for job opportunities within companies known for their work-life balance is extremely fierce.
- Find out what the top 15 companies known for their work-life balance are, and start revising your resume.
Many of us have experienced jobs that have taken up large quantities of our time and energy. These types of positions make you stay late at work, or require you to answer emails during off-hours, while draining your emotions with drama. Bad leadership or demanding work expectations can destroy your mental fitness and eat away at your free time, but this is not a fate that all job seekers have to accept. In the past few years, work-life balance has become a hot topic, and numerous companies have taken notice.
In 2018, Indeed released a list of 15 companies that offer the best work-life balance. The human resources website analyzed data from more than 72 million employee ratings and reviews, and from that information, they determined what organizations allow their workers to work hard and play hard.
The first company on the list is real estate giant Keller Williams, which is headquartered in Austin, Texas but has over 900 offices in the US. Its 10,000+ employees enjoy work-life balance because the job is flexible and allows agents to make their own schedules.
“As an individual contractor you determine your work day,” said one Keller Williams employee. “Each day offers learning and continuing education about culture and opportunities.”
The other companies on the list are from various industries, including healthcare, finance and technology, which is well-known for providing work-life balance and took three spots of the 15. Real estate did the same, with Keller Williams earning the top spot followed by Coldwell Banker in second and Century 21 in seventh place.
“Awareness of the importance of work-life balance isn’t just restricted to a few hot companies in the tech industry, even if those are the firms which receive the most media coverage,” Indeed said. “Organizations across the country are putting real effort into helping their employees successfully navigate work responsibilities, personal commitments and leisure time.”
15 Companies with the Best Work-Life Balance
15. Johnson & Johnson
14. Lockheed Martin
12. Fidelity Investments
11. American Express
10. Pfizer Inc.
9. Northrop Grumman
7. Century 21
6. Capital One
4. Kaiser Permanente
2. Coldwell Banker
1. Keller Williams Realty
Why is work-life balance important?
Millennials will make up almost 75% of the workforce in 2025, according to the Governance Studies at Brookings report “How Millennials Could Upend Wall Street and Corporate America.” Research has shown that one of the main factors that they consider when taking opportunities is whether or not the company provides work-life balance. Because of their influence, companies have started to prioritize work-life balance in order to retain top talent.
“Work-life balance is important because it affects the well-being of individuals, families, and communities,” Dr. Shawn Burn wrote on Psychology Today. “After all, people need time and energy to participate in family life, democracy, and community activities. They also need time outside of work for rejuvenation, and to develop and nurture friendships and their “non-work selves.”
Burn stated that workplaces that care about their employees’ well-being create a sustainable workforce. Happy workers are workers who stick around and are productive. So it is not only beneficial for employees to be given enough time to rejuvenate but it is also in the company’s best interest.
“Workplaces that support employee wellbeing and allow time for employee recovery are part of creating a sustainable workforce where employees don’t become burned-out and ineffective. In contrast to “engaged” employees who display on-the-job energy, involvement, commitment, and a sense of efficacy, "burned-out" employees are exhausted (often physically, mentally, and emotionally), cynical (have negative attitudes about the job, management, and coworkers), and lack efficacy (don’t feel like their job or their efforts matter),” Burn continued.
What do the 15 companies listed do to help their employees?
The 15 companies on Indeed’s list offer work-life balance in different ways, proving that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to wellness. Some employers offer flexible schedules while others give generous parental leave, allow telecommuting, or host fun events.
Three real estate corporations made Indeed’s list, and even before work-life balance became a priority, that industry gave agents the ability to make their own schedules and be their own bosses. One Coldwell Banker employee wrote on Indeed that the job was great because it provided a living and allowed people to pursue their other dreams.
“If real estate isn’t your passion it won’t drain you of your desire to pursue whatever is,” the employee said.
Three technology companies, Cisco, Google, and Dell, made the list as well. Technology has been famous for setting the trend of unconventional and fun work perks such as gym memberships, free food, and entertaining office parties; and the companies named by Indeed were no exception. For instance, Cisco allows workers to take a paid day off for their birthdays, and Google offers exercise classes on site as well as celebrity speakers to help motivate its staff.
Google offers paid maternity leave up to 22 weeks, and it gives adopted parents 7-12 weeks to bond with their new children. Dell said that it plans to have half of its workforce telecommute, which cuts back on sitting in traffic and allows people the flexibility to spend more time with their family.
Valuing family is an important component of work-life balance, and American Express (11th place) understands this concept as well. Not only does the finance company provide its staff extensive family leave, but it also gives new moms free access to lactation consultants and pays for traveling mothers to have their milk shipped to them.
Overall, the 15 companies exhibited generosity with unique benefits, but the common thread is that they all value their employees’ life satisfaction.
How can employees at other companies achieve work-life balance?
If you are not an employee at the fifteen companies that made Indeed’s list or if your company doesn’t offer similar perks, don’t fret. There are still ways that you can achieve a better work-life balance.
5 tips for better work-life balance:
- Keep work at work.
If you are an hourly employee, then your employer should not request anything from you during off-hours and you have no obligation to respond until you are back in the office. For salaried workers, ignoring your boss is a little harder because you are not bound by the clock.
If you are exempt, you can reclaim your time once you are off-work by not checking your work email at home or at least limiting how often you check. If you compartmentalize your time so that work is work and your personal time is your personal time, it will make it easier for you to separate the two.
People who work from home have a difficult time making the separation because their home is their office. However, to create a distinction, work in one place during your work hours, then when the day ends, stay clear of that space to help you keep your work-life balance.
“If you want balance–and not everybody does–you have to force yourself to edit yourself personally and professionally,” author Jody Greenstone Miller told Forbes.
- Set aside device-free time.
At home and at work, we are all guilty of checking our phones or computer way too much. A 2016 survey from Deloitte found that Americans check their devices 8 billion times a day collectively, which average to about 46 checks per person.
When employees are at work, this means that they are readily available, which on the surface sounds okay. But in reality, this practice can be extremely draining. Sometimes it is not productive to read every reply-all in an email chain or to answer the calls of demanding bosses or clients right away. Sometimes it is better to set aside a time to respond so that you are mentally prepared before giving answers.
As mentioned above, keeping work at work is an important component of work-life balance, and our phones and computers are one of the main connectors that blur this line.
“But whether we are among those who use our devices to work remotely, or we are just obsessed with them because of the culture we live in regardless of how much time we are spending on “work,” it’s time to shift our attention to what tech-body balance could look like,” Charlotte Lieberman wrote for the Harvard Business Review.
- Ask for help.
Human beings are social creatures, and when they are strained at work, their morale will decrease. If you are feeling stressed, find someone outside whom you can vent to, such as a family member, friend, or therapist.
If you are lucky enough to have supportive coworkers or a supportive boss, don’t be afraid to ask for help to ease whatever is causing you problems. These requests can be anything from more time to getting an assistant for tasks.
- Say “no.”
It has been ingrained in American workers to never say “no” at work because you will be deemed difficult or lazy. Unfortunately, some employers take advantage of this and make unreasonable demands such as giving staff the work of two people or work that is far beyond their job description. This type of overload can cause unnecessary anxiety, and it is up to the employee to say something.
“If you tend to say yes without thinking when you’re asked to do something extra, stall. Don’t answer straight away. Say you’ll get back to the person asking, and then use that time to think clearly about whether to say yes or no. If you want to say yes, fine. But if you want to say no, say no and keep saying it. Don’t justify your actions or give excuses. There’s no need to be nasty or rude,” life coach Melanie Allen told The Guardian.
Some bosses aren’t aware that they are being too demanding, and once an employee speaks up, the workload will ease and boundaries will be set. For employees with bad bosses, though, they may face retaliation. In this case, employees should make a mental note about their toxic environment and consider looking for a more positive employer.
“Focus on the things that are important to you, and don’t do the extraneous stuff,” Miller told Forbes. “It’s a discipline that doesn’t come too naturally to most of us.”
- Look for another job.
If you feel unappreciated and trapped at your job and nothing you do or say will change the culture, then your best option is to seek employment elsewhere. Make moves to help your marketability, whether this is to learn new skills or meet new people, and let your contacts know that you are open to opportunities.
While your job situation may still be tiresome, you will be filled with hope and energy as you search for the next thing; and when you job seek, look for companies that offer benefits or the type of culture that benefits you, not just them.
The 15 companies that made Indeed’s list show that work-life balance can be achieved and that it is beneficial for both sides. Companies that provide flexible schedules and good benefits are rewarded with productive employees, low turnover, healthier staff, and more employee engagement. Workers with work-life balance experience better mental and physical health, which makes them more enthusiastic and loyal to their companies.
For workers, it’s important to decide what matters the most to you, and to seek out opportunities that allow you to fulfill these aspects.
“At the end of the day, achieving balance means finding out what works for you and what does not. So feel free to experiment! Even if you tip the scale from time to time, the good news is, you can always tip it back,” Vicki Ziegler wrote on the Huffington Post.
For more information, look into these articles:
- 25 Highest Paying Jobs in the United States in 2018
- 15 Job Search Moves that Make You Look Desperate
- 5 Reasons Why Christmas is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year for Job Seekers