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Today’s Workers Want Work/Life Integration Not Balance

Today’s Workers Want Work/Life Integration Not Balance
Posted on Friday, October 7, 2022 by Businessolver Team
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Today’s employees have flipped the script on the traditional in-office work model. How can you provide them with flexible benefits to help them integrate their personal and work responsibilities?

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Let’s be honest: with the explosion of remote and hybrid work arrangements and ‘always on’ technologies, it’s tougher than ever to navigate the balance between work and home life. Perhaps embracing a mindset of work/life integration – where there’s more fluidity between these two demanding worlds – is more attainable for today’s employees.

The keys will be added flexibility and creativity. And you have the opportunity to help offer benefits programs that provide the extra wiggle room employees need to better manage all the moving parts in their lives.

Does working from anywhere, well, work?

For some, working remotely has largely enabled employees to find more balance – and they’re anxious to maintain it. In a 2021 State of Remote Work survey, almost 98% of respondents indicated they would like to work remotely at least some of the time for the rest of their career.

Employees aren’t the only ones who can benefit from this enlightened view of traditional work/life balance. Employers who are committed to providing environments that offer more flexibility and support for their employees can save on costs, experience fewer cases of absenteeism and enjoy a more loyal and productive workforce. Plus, offering benefits that boost flexibility and support is a great tool for recruiting and retaining high-value employees, especially in a very mobile and dynamic job market.

Will the fluid workday fly for your employees?

It’s no secret that employers are in somewhat of a conundrum as employees have revolutionized how they work. I spoke with Lisa Wolf, Director of People and Culture at ARAG, about how our company addressed this emerging need for work/life integration. She’s also living the scenario as a busy mom of four children (three of which are triplets!).

“My goal – even before the pandemic hit – has always been for employees to be able to work from wherever they are. And as their employer, we have to give them the tools, programs and processes to be able to support that,” Wolf states. “Because we know that these days, people have lots of demands in their personal lives, and are looking for a job that really integrates with that and allows them to do what they need to do.”

Wolf adds, “With this increased flexibility, it’s not uncommon for an employee working from home to knock out an hour or two of work before their children wake up, then run them to school and log back on for meetings the rest of the morning. That afternoon they may take a parent to a doctor’s appointment but then log on again later to catch up on some of the day’s work. It isn’t so much working 9 to 5 anymore; it’s a more fluid workday, as career and personal commitments blend together throughout the entire day – but maintaining a healthy mix between work and your outside obligations.”

Are you ready to open up your benefit options?

Moving forward into this brave new work world, consider what benefits will serve employees best as they continue integrating their work and personal lives. Here’s some different ways to get that rolling:

  • First, listen and empathize. Today’s workforce is more diverse than ever, with multiple generations, different lifestyles to consider and unique challenges they face at home. Take a closer look at benefits and programs that offer employees more support and act as a conduit for information and resources.
  • Re-evaluate your time off policy. For workers who are stretched thin with childcare needs and caregiving commitments, time off is a hot commodity. For example, more companies, including ARAG, now offer team members additional paid time off to care for a loved one.
  • Promote how to use existing employee benefits. Ensure employees take advantage of all the provisions and options your benefit plans provide. This could include promoting previously untapped resources provided by an EAP, ensuring that mental health coverage is a robust part of your healthcare plan and offering programs that promote mindfulness and well-being.
  • Make it as easy as possible to access these benefits. Many employees got a crash course in turning to technology to do their work during the pandemic and are no strangers to using online tools and services. They want that same level of ease and familiarity when accessing the benefits you offer, whether it’s an online chat feature with a mental health specialist or downloading an app to view their medical coverage.

 It’s time to gauge how you can offer a benefits portfolio with the flexibility to support employees’ ongoing quest to maintain equilibrium in their work and home lives. As you do, keep these thoughts from Wolf in mind:

 “Collectively, what I’ve heard from our employees is, ‘I want you to trust me to do my job in this new work environment, and I want the freedom as well.’ At the end of the day, we have to shift with that mindset as well and offer added flexibility or we are not going to be able to attract and retain talent, especially in a competitive market.”

Dennis Healy, Chief Sales Officer, ARAG North America, Inc.  

Dennis is a member of the ARAG® executive team. Dennis is a passionate advocate for legal insurance because he has seen firsthand how it helps people receive the protection and legal help they need. He has nearly 30 years of insurance industry experience, with a primary focus on the sale of group voluntary benefit products to employer groups of all sizes through the brokers and consultant community.