Work-life balance is shifting to life-work balance

As more people work from home, they’re starting to re-assess priorities. (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced a lot of changes in the way many Americans work, and that has a lot of them re-assessing their priorities.

The biggest shift may be re-thinking work-life balance. For many, the emphasis going forward will now be more life-work, says staffing firm Robert Half.

“Everything slowed down. It gave people more time to reflect on what is most important to them,” Trey Barnette, at Robert Half’s D.C. office, told WTOP.

“The watershed moment this year was ‘Now I’m working from home and being closer to family,’ and really seeing what the true values are that you want to have in your life as well as in work,” he said.

Robert Half’s survey of working professionals found 57% said they are experiencing a shift in their feelings about work, and 60% are now more motivated to work for a company that values its staff. Younger professionals are more likely than older respondents to say they’ve experienced a change in their work perspective.

Robert Half said that should be a wake-up call for employers.

“Given that everyone’s situation is different, you want to make sure you are being flexible to the person’s needs outside of work,” Barnette said. “And reinforce the importance of their work. You have to recognize and appreciate the small wins. A lot of the big-sized things that used to happen are not happening right now, and it is more about incremental growth for companies.”

Employers should also focus on wellness, with, for example, employee assistance programs.

In its survey, 33% of working professionals expect to pursue a more meaningful and fulfilling job going forward.

The online survey was conducted from May 14 to May 19, and included responses from more than 1,000 workers 18 years or older employed in office environments across the U.S.

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Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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