The Perils of Poor Work/Life Balance

Document created by 1049487 on Jul 27, 2015Last modified by 1049487 on Mar 10, 2017
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Tom Sheehan.pngLong hours

The importance of work/life balance and helping employees find their ideal mix, has been the subject of much scrutiny. Recently released research by Stanford University economics professor John Pencavel indicates there’s a point at which long hours and overwork become unproductive and unhealthy, and even have negative effects on your bottom line.


According to his study, called ‘The Productivity of Working Hours’:

  • Employee output falls sharply after 50 hours of work in a week
  • After 55 hours, that output is fast becoming nonexistent
  • An employee working 70 hours in a week produces absolutely nothing between 55 and 70 hours


Besides the evidence that suggests a significant drop in productivity, long hours have been associated with motor-vehicle crashes, and other safety concerns.  Employees at work for a long time will experience fatigue or stress and increases the probability of errors, accidents and sickness that impose costs on the employer.  Long working hours could also carry a substantial human and economic burden from job-related injuries, increased healthcare costs and greater employee turnover as reported for round-the-clock operations.


Your Time is my Time

Overwork isn’t necessarily confined to the office either. That is because technology has expanded the 8-to-5 workday into the 24/7 workday, which has made it extremely difficult for some employees to have personal time. 

According to a ‘2015 Workplace Flexibility Study’, shows:

  • 65 percent of professionals say their managers expect them to be reachable outside the office
  • 64 percent of HR professionals say they expect their employees to be reachable on their personal time


The Payoff

Restoring work/life balance has a definite payoff to the employer. By encouraging your employees to refocus on the life part of the work/life balance, you will get employees who are far more engaged, and far more loyal.

Top leader support is the key to making the corporate-culture change and giving employees more freedom to live their lives. The senior leadership team must ‘buy in’ to an approach that supports broad work/life balance initiatives such as such as flexible hours and paid-time-off banks.

It starts with a thought process, a philosophy, dictated from the top, and an array of supporting programs. From that point, it’s really up to the manager and the employee to work out some mutually agreeable terms.





1 The 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study., a research and advisory membership portal servicing forward-thinking HR professionals, and CareerArc, a global recruitment and outplacement firm, today announced the results of a new study entitled, “2015 Workplace Flexibility Study.” Following a national survey of 1087 professionals, both employed and unemployed, in addition to 116 HR professionals.

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