Managing work-life balance has become more difficult for all generations in the last five years, but Millennials are finding it especially hard to cope.

A recent EY study of full-time employees found the most common reasons it’s more difficult to manage work/family are that “my salary has not increased much, but my expenses have,” which was almost tied with “my responsibilities at work have increased.” The other top reasons include increased responsibility at home, working longer hours and having children.

The study also reports that 78 percent of Millennials are almost twice as likely to have a spouse/partner working full-time than Boomers (47 percent). Consequently, “finding time for me” is the most prevalent challenge faced by Millennial parents who are managers (76 percent), followed by “not getting enough sleep” and “managing personal and professional life” (67 percent). And when they have work-life management challenges, they are likely to quit their jobs. Two-thirds (66 percent) of Millennials said they would quit their job if they have a boss that doesn’t allow flexibility.

Employees report that they are more productive and more engaged in their work when they are able to balance the demands of work with other aspects of their lives. Workers want the option to work flexibly and be on track for promotion– without penalty.  Millennials are more likely than other generations to say it is important to receive paid parental leave, onsite or subsidized child care and the ability to telecommute 1-2 days a week.

The EY Study says that to modernize your company’s culture, start by asking these four questions:

  1. Are you looking at total compensation, benefits and rewards holistically to include work and life needs of employees?
  2. Are you actively working to prevent or eliminate stigmas commonly associated with parental leave and flexibility?
  3. Do company policies match what’s really happening on the ground? If you allow flexibility, will people who use it be viewed as highly committed and ambitious? Are you rewarding results, or “punching the clock”?
  4. Is this a preference, tradition or requirement? Take a morning meeting. Is “in person” preference, or could you achieve the same results virtually? Is the meeting time tradition, or could it be later to help accommodate others’ schedules? It may be a requirement — and that’s also acceptable.

Providing more work-life flexibility will be interpreted by employees as a great “perk.” At the same time, employers will benefit with improved production and engagement.


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