Majority of Americans Say Work/Life Balance Is a Significant Problem
With the economy experiencing its worst struggles since the Great Depression, it may be tempting to think that those with jobs “should be happy and not complain.” Yet 89% of Americans see work/life balance issues as a problem, including 54% who say it is a “significant problem,” a StrategyOne survey reveals.
Moreover, the “Great Recession” has made the situation worse for close to four in 10 workers: 38% say their work/life balance has become worse since the recession started, while only 10% say that it has improved.
“Far from having disappeared from public consciousness, the issue of work/life balance remains a concern to American workers – even despite – and perhaps because of – the severe economic downturn,” comments StrategyOne VP Bradley Honan.
Polling data among full-time and part-time workers shows that this issue has an impact on fully one-third of the workforce, with middle-aged men (ages 34 to 54) most likely to say they do not have an adequate work/life balance (44%).
When Americans’ work/life balance is disrupted, families bear the brunt. Thirty-seven percent say that time with family is the first thing that suffers when work/life balance is out of whack, while 22% say that personal time is most affected.
Further, there appears to be more that companies can do to address this issue. Forty-three percent of American workers said their company is not doing enough to address work/life
“Far from just being happy they have a job, significant numbers of American workers are asking companies to step up to the plate and address this issue more effectively,” Honan comments. “Workers are being asked to do ‘more with less’ and the strain on them is clearly showing.”
One-in-Five Workers Have Trouble Making Ends Meet
Seventy-seven percent of workers report they live paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet, up from 61% in 2009, a CareerBuilder.com survey reveals. Workers went on to say that sometimes they are unable to make ends meet at all, with 22% saying they have missed payments on bills in the last year.
Workers report they have made a variety of changes to their living and spending habits to help get by. When asked what tactics they have used since the start of the recession to
make ends meet, workers said the following:
• cut back on leisure activities (54%)
- used coupons or shopped at
- discount stores (48%)
- drove less to save on gas (37%)
- cancelled cable and other
- subscriptions (12%)
- used public transportation (5%)
Some workers are making ends meet by dipping into their long-term savings. Twenty-one percent of workers say they have reduced their 401(k) contributions or personal savings in the last year to get by.
Saving money is not an option for some workers, as one-third state they do not participate in any programs such as 401(k), IRAs or retirement plans. Thirty percent report they don’t put any money aside into their savings each month, while 28% set aside $100 or less per month for savings and 14% save less than $50.
Only Half of Employees Believe Managers Perform Well
Half of all employees believe their managers are competent or very competent, a Right Management survey reveals. However, an alarmingly high level of employees – 33% – think their managers are either somewhat or completely incompetent, with an additional 17% only marginally impressed with managerial competence.
“It surprised us that as many as half of employees are less than enthused about their manager’s performance,” comments George Herrmann, Right Management’s executive VP for the Americas. “The recent business climate has necessitated many fast and reactive changes – often quick decisions without explanations of rationale provided to employees. We interpret the results as highlighting the lack of trust between many employees and their managers.”