- A study of individuals in 34 countries revealed that men demonstrate a higher elasticity for personal and leisure time, suggesting that work-life balance may be even more important for men than it is for women. The study was published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, from the Tokyo University of Science.
- Leisure and personal time ― the indicator for work-life balance ― was highest among European Union member countries, with Norway and Denmark scoring notably high on life satisfaction as well as leisure and personal time. Across all 34 countries, scores were similar for women and men.
- Policies that enhance individuals' life satisfaction can play a major role in improving both productivity and the general well-being of a population, concludes Professor Hideo Noda of the Tokyo University of Science, who conducted the study.
These days, work-life balance is crucial for employees. In one recent report, more than a third of respondents ranked it as the biggest contributor to finding meaning in their work. Another survey revealed that work-life balance was even more important than pay to the job satisfaction of hourly employees.
As Professor Noda's research highlighted, both men and women value balance and flexibility at work. This can be especially true when men become fathers; in a recent Indeed survey, 87% of dads reported that fatherhood had changed their career goals.
Flexibility for dads benefits moms, too. Research from the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research found that mothers have fewer postpartum health issues and better mental health when fathers are able to experience flexibility at work following the birth of a child. On the flip side, poor work-life balance is detrimental to the workforce as a whole. A survey from Mental Health America and Total Brain revealed that over 60% of 18- to 34-year-olds report impaired productivity on the job due to poor work-life balance or unrealistic professional demands.
Although helping workers maintain an optimal work-life balance is a multifaceted process, encouraging them to actually take their vacation days can be a simple step in the right direction. Doing so may require a cultural adjustment — and part of that adjustment may include having managers model taking time-off.