As if the overall economy lately hasn't been grim enough, our personal economic lives have grown grimmer in some ways, too: We're working too hard, and our lives often feel out of balance.
On average, Americans are working 11 more hours per week than they did in the 1970s. Among men and women in professional and managerial positions, a whopping 38% of men and 14% of women work 50 hours or more per week. Making matters worse, the average American income, adjusted for inflation, has declined by 13% since the 1970s.
"Americans report sharply higher levels of work-family conflict than do citizens of other industrialized countries," says The Center for American Progress. "[F]ully 90% of American mothers and 95% of American fathers report work-family conflict."
Does Your Employer Encourage Work-Life Balance?
Fortunately, the situation isn't grim everywhere. A recent study from the Society of Human Resource Management found that 24% of organizations have a formal work-life balance policy in place, and 52% have an informal one.
Such policies most commonly discourage working when sick or on vacation, or working more than a set number of hours per week. Many also discourage workers from answering emails and returning calls during their off-time.
For working parents and those with other dependents to care for or other responsibilities in their lives, having flexible hours or the ability to work from home some or all of the time is another valuable contributor to work-life balance. Unfortunately, according to the SHRM report, only about 10% of companies with balance policies address flexible work arrangements.
Best Companies for a Balanced Life
The folks at the jobs and career community Glassdoor.com have released their second annual list of the Top 25 Companies for Work-Life Balance. Here are some noteworthy companies on the list:
Motley Fool contributor Selena Maranjian owns shares of LinkedIn, but she holds no other position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of LinkedIn and Facebook. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of LinkedIn, Facebook, and FactSet Research Systems.