10 businesses that have mastered work/life balance
Who wouldn’t like to feel that the balance between their work and home life was a little more… balanced?
From employees half-expected to respond to emails outside of office hours to workers regularly putting in overtime for extra pay, it can feel for many that work dominates the week and life can struggle to fit around it.
And that’s not just a notion which employees might have on a Monday morning. Almost 30% of workers say their bosses expect them to be available whilst they’re on vacation. Even on this list of the top companies to work for, one in five said they’re still unsatisfied.
Is a positive work/life balance achievable? Thought leaders such as Arianna Huffington would argue not and that we should instead strive to achieve a positive work/life integration, whilst organizational psychologist Adam Grant proposes aiming for a work/life rhythm:
Work-life balance sets an unrealistic expectation of keeping different roles in steady equilibrium.— Adam Grant (@AdamMGrant) September 26, 2018
Instead, strive for work-life rhythm. Each week has a repeating pattern of beats—job, family, friends, health, hobbies—that vary in accent and duration.#WednesdayWisdom
However you choose to term the ambition to find the right mix of career and out-of-office life, there are some organizations which have begun to master the challenge. By implementing different time-off and flexible working policies, promoting healthy messages and creating environments where staff don’t leave the workplace feeling stressed and drained, they’re starting to see that both employees and the overall business are benefiting.
Here are the 10 companies we’ve taken a closer look at:
Etsy is well known for being a great place to work with a big focus on diversity, inclusion, team culture and creating spaces which ‘keep commerce human’.
This ethos transpires in the reviews the company gets from employees when it comes to offering a positive work/life balance too. Last year they were included in Glassdoor’s list of companies who show that helping employees find a harmony between work life and home life is more than a recruiting buzzword – they actually deliver the goods. The company ranks at 3.9/5 for work/life balance, second only to its compensation and benefits, with one employee noting that managers ‘take the stance that working 24/7 doesn’t improve your performance at all’.
A review specifically looking at the work/life balance at the company on Comparably ranks the firm as being in the top 35% of similarly sized organizations in the US.
Here’s a little window into what working at the company is like (including many office dogs) and its ‘anti-corporate’ culture:
Etsy has even proved beneficial to the work/life balance of its customers, with many sellers on the platform choosing to create the working life they want by selling their antiques and handmade items full time.
Video conferencing company Zoom made the same Glassdoor list as Etsy, achieving an impressive work/life balance rating of 4.7/5. The company ranks highly across all measures, including its culture and values, with nine in 10 saying they would recommend the company to a friend.
The company’s motto of delivering happiness doesn’t just apply to its customers – it holds true for their employees too with a generous time off policy, buddy-up new-hire initiative and happiness events. Here’s an inside look at what they’re up to:
Even more impressive was the company’s top 5% listing on Comparably, scoring top marks for work/life balance, happiness and culture with a strong focus on personal development too, alongside being voted the best company for culture, diversity, promoting women and the best CEO to work for.
It’s not just trailblazing tech companies and quirky online retailers who are making a success of work/life balance. Coffee giants Starbucks have been bucking the trend in the hospitality industry by proving it’s possible to offer jobs that achieve a positive harmony between work and life, despite the sector being ranked as one of the worst industries for achieving that balance.
Comparably scores Starbucks in the top 5% of similar-sized US firms for work/life balance as well as ranking well for happiness and overall culture, picking up awards for culture, professional development, best company for women and of course, work/life balance too – all reflecting the company’s mission to ‘inspire and nurture the human spirit, one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time’.
Another retail giant proving that work/life balance can be achieved in a fast-paced, shift-based environment across thousands of employees and hundreds of locations is Target. And we’re not just talking about their corporate offices.
One part-time store worker commented that management was very flexible with scheduling, time off and desired hours, whilst a ‘swap shift’ board for the weekly schedule makes it easy for staff to take a day if something last minute comes up.
The careers website states that the company is dedicated to enhancing wellbeing of both employees and their families and include a range of vacation, personal days, wellbeing time and family leave options for staff.
As a result, Target ranks in the top 10% of similarly sized US companies for its work/life balance offering and achieves positive happiness and culture scores.
The property sector isn’t without its work/life winners either. UK-based housebuilder Taylor Wimpey has been ranked as one of the best UK companies to work for due to its work/life balance offering and was also noted as one of the top places to work in 2018 and this year too, with one employee commenting that ‘work/life balance is in healthy equilibrium and a senior leadership team who lead the way’.
The firm offers flexible hours, family-friendly policies, opportunities to purchase additional holiday days and even time off for charity work to its employees, offering a range of additional benefits including a ‘dress for the day’ environment and an annual team charity event.
Keller Williams Realty
In the US, property firm Keller Williams Realty has also been topping the work/life balance charts, including ranking as Indeed’s number one company in 2018 for offering employees a harmony between home and work life.
“If you’re working remotely or at our buzzing HQ in Austin, Texas, we’ll give you what you need to enjoy a fulfilling career and the life you deserve.”
Here, co-founder Keller Williams notes the importance of people within the organization, and how he wants every employee to be incredibly successful:
The company manages to maintain a culture of balance through almost 140,000 employees with a business model that emphasizes profit sharing and allows for flexible work schedules, on-top of paid parental leave, generous paid time off and continuing professional development opportunities too.
Marketing agency Boostability proudly display their numerous employer awards on their careers page, boasting nods for leadership, best CEOs for women and of course, work/life balance.
Ranking in the top 10% of similarly sized US firms, employees can acquire up to 21 days off a year, as well as benefiting from the company’s Boostlife wellness program on top of other benefits including company parties and retreats.
With many employees noting great friendships with their colleagues and a culture that celebrates individuality, the firm ranks in the top 10% of similar-sized companies in the US with 88% of employees reporting they’re satisfied with their work/life balance.
Intuit, the software company behind QuickBooks and TurboTax, came second in Comparably’s 2018 work/life balance awards (behind Starbucks) and standards haven’t dropped since with strong Glassdoor ratings to this day and a great 4.4/5 overall score.
Flexible schedules are one of the reasons behind the company’s high work/life balance ratings with over 800 employee reviews citing a positive harmony between work and home life as a positive factor of their employment.
The firm offers a number of time-off options from general holidays to disability and travel options, as well as a range of schemes designed to support physical, emotional and financial wellbeing.
An initiative called We Care & Give Back grabs attention too, offering employees up to five paid days off a year to volunteer in the community, reflecting one of the company’s core values:
Slack took a slightly different route when it came to furnishing their offices in that, for a successful tech company, they pretty much didn’t. The messaging platform decided to forgo the rock climbing walls and on-site fitness suites for a very good reason – they want their employees to go home when they’ve finished their work.
“Work hard and go home”
It may sound a somewhat cold message to send to employees, but the company understands that working all the hours under the sun doesn’t benefit anyone, especially their staff. As this LinkedIn article attests too, the policy does seem to be working, with HQ pretty much a ghost town by 6:30 pm.
Tax services firm Ryan, LLC used to have a working culture that no one would have considered work/life balance friendly. Employees were regularly expected to work 55 hours a week and through their weekends, logging every moment of time worked along the way.
However, in 2008 they changed tack and began showing employees that the company values performance over time, especially after discovering that staff working the longest hours (some over 70 hours a week) were less productive than those working less.
Time spent in the office is no longer tracked and employees can work remotely too, resulting in voluntary turnover dropping to just 6% and client satisfaction, alongside financial performance, increasing too.
The company now boasts an impressive 4.3 work/life balance score on Glassdoor alongside positive culture and values ratings.