SHRM Poll: Work/Life Balance Policies Vary


By SHRM Online staff July 16, 2012

The results of a poll of Society for Human Resource Management members, Work/Life Balance Policies, revealed that nearly a quarter (24 percent) said their organizations have a formal, written work/life balance policy and more than half (52 percent) have an informal policy (ad hoc practices).

The elements most likely to be addressed in work/life balance policies are shown below.

Elements addressed in formal work/life policies

Elements addressed in informal work/life policies

Discourage work during vacation



Discourage/prohibit work over a specified number of hours per week in or away from the office (exempt and nonexempt)



Discourage work during sick time



Offer flexible work arrangements






Percentages total more than 100% because multiple responses were allowed.

At organizations with informal work/life policies, most respondents said that supervisors and managers:

Encourage a healthy work/life balance in their unit/work group (80 percent).

Encourage employees to ask for help when necessary (67 percent).

Discourage employees from answering e-mails and phone calls via their wireless communication devices during nonworking hours (26 percent).

Use of Wireless Devices During Nonworking Hours

A separate SHRM member poll, Technology and Its Impact on Employees During Nonworking Hours, revealed that approximately one-fifth of organizations (21 percent) have a formal policy that regulates wireless communication device usage during nonworking hours. In some cases, these limits might be put in place to be compliant with Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) requirements for nonexempt staff. Of those organizations, 27 percent mention work/life balance issues in their policy.

Roughly one-quarter of organizations (26 percent) have an informal policy regarding the use of wireless communication devices during nonworking hours.

Among organizations that do not have a formal or informal policy on wireless communication device use, the majority (87 percent) allow their employees to set their own limits on the use of wireless communication devices for work purposes during nonworking hours.

Related Articles:

Make a Case for Workplace Flex, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, June 2012

Using Workplace Flexibility as a Talent Strategy, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, May 2012

2012 National Study Reveals Increased Workplace Flexibility, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, May 2012

Tailor Work Flex for Workers’ Needs, SHRM Online Benefits Discipline, April 2012

Quick Links:

SHRM Online Benefits Discipline

SHRM Online Workplace Flexibility Resource Page

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