Regardless of gender, work-life benefits are important part of overall job fit

Contrary to popular belief, work-life balance and work flexibility issues are not primarily women’s issues. In fact, in some cases it is men who use work-life benefits more frequently and are more likely to say that their work is interrupted for personal or family reasons, according to survey results from the American Psychological Association’s Center for Organizational Excellence. The survey was conducted online on APA’s behalf by Harris Poll from July 14-16, 2015, among 902 adults who are employed either full time or part time.

The survey found that men are more likely than women to report utilizing some work-life benefits more frequently (once a week or more), including child care benefits (9 percent vs. 2 percent), personal time off (9 percent vs. 4 percent), flexible schedules regarding how many days a week they work (15 percent vs. 9 percent), paid leave (7 percent vs. 1 percent), unpaid leave (9 percent vs. 3 percent), life management resources, such as access to concierge or relocation services (8 percent vs. 2 percent), and phased transitions, including gradual return from leave (8 percent vs. 1 percent). Men also were more likely than women to say their employer offers many work-life benefits, which could contribute to these disparities.

More men also report non-work issues interrupting work, including taking care of personal or family needs during work (46 percent vs. 38 percent), responding to personal communications during work hours (64 percent vs. 56 percent) and handling personal or family responsibilities when they are working from home (35 percent vs. 22 percent).

Similarly, men are more likely than women to say work interrupts their non-work time. More than a quarter of men say they regularly bring work home (30 percent vs. 23 percent), work during vacations (31 percent vs. 19 percent), allow work to interrupt time with family and friends (31 percent vs. 19 percent) and bring work materials with them to personal or family activities (26 percent vs. 12 percent).

Working parents with at least one child under the age of 18 in the home in general report greater utilization of non-work support and flexible work arrangements, as well as more non-work issues interrupting work (55 percent vs. 42 percent) and more work interrupting non-work time (36 percent vs. 25 percent). However, they also report better work-life fit (81 percent vs. 71 percent), higher work engagement (46 percent vs. 40 percent), stronger family identity (82 percent vs. 57 percent), more boundary control (78 percent vs. 67 percent) and higher overall life satisfaction (59 percent vs. 52 percent).

“The lesson for employers here is that while many men and women say that they struggle to balance their work and personal lives, having access to flexible work arrangements and control over how they manage those boundaries is key to a good work-life fit,” said David W. Ballard PsyD, MBA, the director of APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence. “Employees whose jobs fit well with the rest of their lives are more engaged and motivated, report higher levels of job satisfaction, have better work relationships and are less likely to say they intend to leave the organization in the next year.”


Visit our News Library to read more news stories.