Work-life balance part 1: What is work-life balance and why is it important?

What is a work-life balance? How can we achieve it for ourselves? As business owners how can we help our employees achieve their own goals when it comes to this?

This insight will explain what is meant by work-life balance and why organisations should invest time and resources in ensuring their employees have a great balance.

What is Work-Life Balance?

Work-life balance (WLB). A familiar phrase, but what does it actually look like? Broadly speaking, when people use the phrase to “work-life balance” they often refer to how one prioritises their working life vs their personal life. This may look different for different people depending on their current situation and/or their future goals in life and work.

The term work-life balance seems to imply a dichotomy, a mutual exclusivity between ‘work’ and ‘life’ which may not be altogether helpful.

For many employees, work is a purposeful and integral part of life which brings productivity and a sense of fulfilment, rather than something to reduce in order to ‘live’ more fully.

Defining such a term is highly personal and requires thoughtful examination of one’s values, obligations, passions, priorities and boundaries. It certainly isn’t a ‘one-size-fits-all’ concept. A ‘balanced’ life will be as individual as those trying to achieve it.

How Work-Life Balance can be Different for Different People

WLB can look different for different people depending on their career goals or plans for their personal life.

For parents within an organisation, it may be more useful to exchange work-life balance for ‘work-family balance’ (WFB), as it is often their professional and family responsibilities that require effective management.

Children’s needs are often inflexible (school / childcare timings), unpredictable (sickness or school-closures) and a huge emotional priority. The psychological safety for a parent of knowing that their working life will effectively allow them to carry out their parental duties is crucially important. Hence why it’s important to promote work-life balance or work-family balance.

Why is Work-Life Balance Important?

WLB is important for both individuals and organisations. Here are some of our top reasons to promote a healthy WLB in your organisation.

1. Work-Family Balance is important to attract and retain talent.

Developing organisational cultures promoting healthy work-life balance is an important and key part of attracting and retaining talent as we move into 2023.

Research published earlier this year demonstrated that more workers were attracted to their current role for the work-life balance (41%) than the salary (36%) – a switch compared to before the pandemic (and a trend seen more in female employees)1.

The Glassdoor research team supported these findings with survey results from employees in the UK, US and Canada2. Their more recent 2000 employee survey3 also found that 52% of people consider work-life balance a priority when job hunting.

Organisations that don’t respond to this key driver of employee satisfaction risk missing out on talented applicants, keen to build a work-life balance to achieve career aspirations with family responsibilities and life outside work.

2. Work Life Balance is important to improve mental health.

Employee mental health has been increasingly in the spotlight in recent years but research has found that burnout, mental health issues and overwork are still on the increase4 .

By not prioritising their work-life balance, employees can be left feeling unable to meet professional and family demands. This will inevitably increase stress and negatively impact mental health.

A current literature review5 looking at the ‘new normal’ post-covid highlights the importance of WFB and creating a flexible and family-friendly workplace in helping to decrease stress and improve the overall well-being of the workforce (Vyas 2022).

Organisations committing to care for their people and promote a healthy work-life balance will encourage employee engagement and improve outcomes for their health, family and  general well-being.

3. Work-Life Balance is important to increase effort, motivation and productivity.

A survey of nearly 30,000 employees worldwide found a strong link between employees’ perception of work-life balance and their organisational contribution.6 64% of employees who rate WLB highly, expressed willingness to go above and beyond for their organisation, as compared with 29% with a poor WLB.

The report states that,

            “… organizations have an opportunity to let their employees structure their work lives to not just achieve personal balance, but also drive better business results.” p21

Vyas’s review5 supports this, suggesting that organisations’ attention to employees’ WLB will improve their motivation and performance. It is therefore clear that the parent, their family and the organisation stand to benefit from an organisational investment into supporting their employees to achieve a satisfactory WFB.

Work-Life Balance support from Parent and Professional – global award-winning coaching support

It is evident that promoting employee work-family or a work-life balance is of paramount importance for organisations in order to maximise the health, capability and motivation of their workforces.

P&P supports organisations nation-wide in developing this family-friendly work culture. We can offer your organisation

  • Manager training
  • Bespoke coaching
  • Webinars
  • Innovative online-portal

P&P are able to effectively help anyone looking to achieve a work-family balance which maximises well-being and performance. Contact Us today for more information.

By Andi Simmons. Exec Coach (EMCC) and Psychologist (MSc Psych, MBPsS)

1. Censuswide research on behalf of Aviva which surveyed 2,173 employees (GB 16+) from 20-30 May 2022. 



4. OnePoll research (2022) on behalf of Glassdoor, surveyed 2,000 UK employees who work full time either in an office or at home between 22 August – 30 August 2022.

5. Vyas, L. (2022) “New normal” at work in a post-COVID world: work–life balance and labor markets. Policy and Society, 41(1), 155–167

6 Qualtrics (2022) 2023 Employee experience trends report. The year employees restructure their relationship with work

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