February 26, 2016
How Work Life Balance Affects Retention Rates

Want Higher Retention Rates? Make Work Life Balance a Priority – Now


At LifeWorking, we know how important a healthy work life balance is to a healthy, happy life. Yet there are still many companies of all sizes that consider wellness programs, telecommuting and coworking options, and scheduling flexibility to be “luxury items”. Work Life Balance is often tossed to the wayside and seen as ineffective, pointless, and a waste of money. It’s no surprise to us over at LifeWorking Enterprises that the companies that hold this opinion often have extremely high turnover rates and low employee satisfaction rates. Does a positive work life balance have a measurable effect on retention and turnover rates?


An MIT collaboration project included a quote from a Boston College Center for Work & Family study, which analyzed six enterprise sized companies to find that 70% of managers and 87% of employees reported that flexible work arrangements had a positive or very positive impact on quality of their work. In addition, 76% of managers and 80% of employees indicated that flexible work arrangements, such as telecommuting and coworking options and scheduling flexibility, had positive effects on retention. The evidence is clear – more flexibility means happier employees, and happier employees means higher retention rates.


The Hidden Costs of Poor Work Life Balance

Low retention rates aren’t the only costly effect of ignoring the need for a positive work life balance. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) tested a large group (46,000) of workers and found that health care costs were nearly 50% higher for workers who reported high levels of work place stress, in comparison to workers who reported lower levels of workplace stress. Since this study in 1998, medical expenses for those with high levels of work-related stress have increased by 150% in comparison to low-stress workers. High stress positions and poor work life balance affects both mental and physical health, too. Employers spend $93 billion per year in costs due to obesity and related chronic diseases of their employees. Indirect costs of poor work life balance, such as low employee morale, extremely low productivity levels, high job turnover, absenteeism, etc. are proving to be significantly more costly than the “luxury item” of investing in employee health.


Why Put Employee Health First?

By implementing health and wellness initiatives and offering telecommuting options or leasing coworking spaces closer to an employee’s home, companies can save millions in costs related to low retention rates and billions in stress-related health care costs. Preventative health measures and emphasis on mental wellness can have profound effects on employee quality of life, which translates directly into better employee engagement, higher productivity levels, and higher employee retention rates.


Flexibility is Key

When the New York Times interviewed Jennifer Allyn, managing director of PwC, she claimed that “stepped-up flexibility policies had helped cut turnover to 15 percent a year, from 24 percent.” Companies such as PwC estimate that the cost of hiring and training a new employee can be up to 150% of a departing worker’s salary, meaning that reducing employee turnover could add up to “$30 million in savings”.


If you have a family to consider, you may have already felt the difficulties of poor work life balance. A recent survey by CNN financial found that nearly 40% of women in tech speak less about their families in order to be take more seriously in the workplace – even going as far as keeping their desks and work spaces free of pictures of their children.


We know that long commutes, hectic schedules, and inflexible work options can limit productivity levels and lead to poor health. That’s precisely why LifeWorking Enterprises offers coworking options for corporate team members living in the north Chicago land suburbs. By allowing employees to work from a coworking space located closer to home, companies can improve the work life balance and overall wellness of their staff.


What do you think? Has poor work life balance affected you or those around you? Do you have tips and advice on how to improve the quality of work life balance, especially in a corporate setting? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Connect with us on any of our social channels below to let your voice be heard!



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