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Millennials Want a Healthy Work-Life Balance. Here's What Bosses Can Do.

Millennials Want a Healthy Work-Life Balance. Here's What Bosses Can Do.

Approximately 50% of workers are now considered millennials. Many companies are struggling to attract and retain these individuals, though there is no denying that millennials are dramatically shaping the culture of corporations across the globe.

Younger workers expect and demand more flexibility from their jobs than previous generations. Tangibly impactful benefits are at the top of millennials' desires in a job, and these benefits must support a healthy work-life balance. In fact, more than 80% say they seriously consider how a position will affect their work-life balance.

As a corporate wellness consultant, I have had the opportunity to work with employers of millennials in the workforce on a frequent basis. Much of the power to satisfy their unique needs lies within their employer’s actions and protocols.

Here is what bosses should take into consideration to incorporate work-life balance boosting strategies into their employee benefits.

Understand work-life balance.

Millennials may find themselves feeling torn between leading a successful and fulfilling life at work, at home, with family, and with friends.

When employers make the effort to create optimal balance in the domain of work, a burden is lifted from the shoulders of their employees. If bosses make small investments in the right places, they can dramatically change the quality of job satisfaction and employee productivity.

It is best to view work-life balance more as integration, rather than equilibrium. Millennials seek flexibility in their roles that allows them to thrive outside of work.

It is important to note that any successful program will create a sense of achievement and enjoyment. When employers make the right investments toward creating both, both parties experience benefits related to retention and productivity.

[Related: The Secret to Work-Life Balance]

Create the ideal work environment.

Millennials are challenging the concept of traditional office life. They desire the ability to work remotely and flexibly. With technological advancements, working remotely has been made simple.

According to one Gallup report, employees across various industries who spent 60-80% of their time working remotely had the highest rates of engagement and productivity. Companies are increasingly making the transition to offering more remote positions. Amazon and United Health Group were ranked among the top ten companies offering remote work in 2018.

Furthermore, millennials value social connection. Having the ability to work openly in teams where they are constantly collaborating and receiving colleague help and feedback has been shown to boost job satisfaction.

Address a new notion of family life.

Almost half of millennials have children, and this percentage will undoubtedly increase as time passes. It is an attractive feature for companies to offer family-related benefits, such as childcare providers, educational assistance, and paid parental leave.

On the other end of the spectrum, younger millennials may be putting off having children. Given that, another way to win over millennials is through their pets.

70% of millennials reported having at least one pet, compared to 60% who reported having no children in a 2016 Gallup survey. Companies such as Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard offer pet insurance as one of their employee benefits.

[Related: Why We Need to Let Go of Gatekeeping and Perfectionism During Lockdown]

Provide a purpose.

Millennials have a strong desire to give back. They focus their altruistic energies on creating a positive change. Give thought to organizing team events where employees can give back to local non-profits and charities.

Millennials want to work for companies that align with their own internal values. Colgate-Palmolive and Patagonia are both frontrunners in offering employee opportunities to support philanthropic efforts. Providing a purpose has become a highly popular trend in recent corporate wellness initiatives.

Approach workplace wellness in a holistic and tech-savvy manner.

Employees want holistic wellness initiatives. On-site fitness, stress management, wearable devices, mental health support, and healthy food options are all excellent ways to support employee health in a holistic manner.

Using innovative health technologies has the potential to create a substantially higher level of engagement in wellness programs from millennials. More tech-minded than previous generations, millennials want digital access to their health.

Companies that address the needs of the millennial workforce will reap the many benefits this generation has to offer. The ideal work-life balance for millennials empowers them to effectively contribute to their organization, while having the resources and flexibility to care for themselves and see to their life’s demands outside of work.

It is essential that employers develop a benefits program that addresses what is most important to millennials - flexibility, family, health, and sense of purpose.

[Related: Work + Life: Balance or Collision? Why Workplace Wellness Matters]

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Franziska Alesso-Bendisch, Ph. D. is the Founder of Well Work Solutions, an employee performance and wellbeing consultancy that helps companies create work environments that enable people to thrive.


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