According to research from Office Team, 63% of senior managers said their company is “very supportive of their staff’s efforts to achieve work-life balance.” However, only 34% of employees agreed with this statement.
I think the disconnect comes from what we tell the people who work for us and what the organization actually requires of them.
Let me give you an example. Recently, I took a week’s vacation. The people I report to told me to feel free to disconnect, don’t worry about work, etc. All the things you would expect a manager who did support work-life balance to say.
But during the time I was off, I had multiple requests to deal with something that couldn’t really wait. There were requests for forms to be filled out by HR with a tight deadline, training dates and locations to be confirmed with clients and so on.
So, I couldn’t really disconnect, could I? Not because it wasn’t encouraged by my bosses, but because the nature of the company doesn’t really allow for it.
And maybe that’s the reason so many managers feel better about how they support work life balance than their employees do. They aren’t considering just how much the job itself discourages it.