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Identifying Companies That Value "Work-Life Balance"

“Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This quote might be true if my career was as a professional athlete or a famous musician, but since I am neither, work is still work. I may love my job, but at the end of the day, I want to turn off the emails, shut down the computer, and enjoy the evening without the stress of work following me home. The phrase “work-life balance” has become such a buzz word that employers may say their company values it, but in reality, the demands of the job prevent you from having a life. How can you tell if a company encourages work-life balance or are all talk? Below are four tips to help you figure out if the company truly values work-life balance.

  1. Do online research prior to the interview.
    As with all job search related activities, it's always a good idea to start out with research!  Glassdoor is an effective tool for finding this kind of information--as companies are ranked on various aspects, one of which is work-life balance.  LinkedIn can also prove valuable in evaluating employee satisfaction.  If you notice short spans of employment for a particular company's employees, it could be an indicator of being overworked, which leads to high burnout.  

  2. Learn more about company policies.
    You can learn this as early as your first interview with the company--though be sure not to make this the main focus of the interview, as you don't want to send the message that your goal is to work as little as possible. Ask the recruiter specifically what the company’s policies are on flex time and working from home. Ask how the company facilitates work-life balance and make it easier to achieve. Questions like "Walk me through a typical week or day" or "Can I get a sense of whether you usually work on weekends?" can give you an idea of what to expect.  A company that offers flex time understands that life happens and using paid time off (PTO) for the unpredictability of it can create stress.  Telecommuting allows you to focus on work for long stretches at a time and can free up valuable hours to focus on personal responsibilities. It's also cost-effective and eco-friendly.  

  3. Consider "perks" offered on-site.
    Some companies offer laundry services, free meals, gyms, etc.--all available at the office!  While these additional factors may appeal to you, keep at mind that the more perks like these that are provided can mean it's more likely for employees to work longer hours.  The availability of such services/freebies means that there are less reasons for you to have to leave the office.  Of course to many, these perks are worth it, but just consider that there may be an underlying reason for the existance of such perks.

  4. Understand the value of open communication.
    A work culture that supports open communication demonstrates that the company is willing to do their best to accommodate to your needs. If you know you perform better in the afternoon and would prefer to stay and work into the evening, would you feel comfortable asking? In my opinion, there is nothing worse than feeling scared to talk to your boss. There are work and personal topics you may want to refrain from discussing with a supervisor, but knowing that they are there to listen and help you perform your best is comforting to know.  

“Don’t confuse having a career with having a life”
-Hillary Clinton

About the author

Danielle Corrigan

Danielle Corrigan is the Employer Relations & Recruiting Manager at Engineering Career Services