A recent survey by Robert Half Management Resources reveals that a majority of professionals, including those in accounting and finance, have a better work-life balance now than a few years ago – and they have their managers to thank.
According to the survey, 52 percent of professionals said their work-life balance has either improved significantly or somewhat in the past three years.
Nine in 10 respondents (91 percent) noted that their manager is very or somewhat supportive of their efforts to achieve this balance, and 74 percent said their boss sets a good or even excellent example.
“Managers can help by giving their teams more freedom over where and when they work, if possible, and providing greater autonomy,” Tim Hird, executive director of Robert Half Management Resources, said in a written statement. “These efforts go a long way to improve job satisfaction and retention rates.”
But work-life balance isn’t just relevant to millennials, he stressed. Employees of all generations are under the gun to meet both work and personal obligations.
“Businesses should promote work-life balance initiatives broadly and make sure all staff have the opportunity to weigh in on the perks that will best help them meet their goals,” Hird said.
The survey found that professionals between the ages of 18 and 34 were more than twice as likely as those age 55 or older to cite improved work-life balance (67 percent versus 31 percent).
Sixty-two percent of younger professionals reported their manager is very supportive of their efforts to achieve work-life balance, compared to 50 percent of the oldest respondents and 47 percent of those ages 35 to 54.
Nearly eight in 10 (79 percent) of 18- to 34-year-olds said their manager sets an excellent or good example.
Here are five ways accounting managers can help their teams achieve work-life balance:
1. Understand employees’ needs. Talk to your staff about their objectives and what you can do to help. Where one employee may benefit from working remotely a couple days, another may seek starting and ending his or her day 30 minutes earlier. Stay flexible and open-minded as you assist your team.
2. Show them the way. Are you sending emails at all times of the day and night, or are most of your communications delivered during work hours? Do you use your weekends to pursue personal goals or demand updated financial reports? Whichever options you choose, your staff are taking note – and figuring they must do the same.
3. Work with interim professionals. If to-do lists are expanding and the team is falling behind, bring in a consultant who can alleviate the burden and contribute specialized expertise. Project professionals can step in immediately to support your organization.
4. Spread the word. Employers commonly highlight their work-life balance offerings to job candidates, but you'll need to continue selling your firm’s program to current staff. Regularly and broadly communicate options available to your professionals.
5. Stay ahead of the pack. Views on work-life balance change, and what is popular today may not have the same appeal in six months or a year from now. Stay on top of emerging trends to keep your program fresh and ensure you provide in-demand benefits to your employees.