Jobs That Won't Kill Your Personal Life
If Americans ever did have a true work/life balance, it seemed to take a big hit during the recession and the slow recovery since.
Multiple surveys in recent years have found that more employees are forced to stay late at the office or take assignments home with them to keep up with their increased workload, a fact that some have attributed to the tough economy that forced many companies to consolidate their payrolls and pile on tasks for their remaining employees.
But a new report from Glassdoor, a job-search site, shows that delicate work/life balance may indeed be alive and well again in this country, if not exactly thriving, as more than half of the employees surveyed (54%) reported having a good balance between personal and professional time in their current occupations. The site asked workers at the more than 115,000 businesses on the site to rate their employers by a number of factors including work/life balance.
The ratings, which go from 0 to 5 (5 being the best), not only highlight companies with particularly favorable working conditions, but also offer insight on the qualities of a company that are the most conducive to a healthy work/life balance.
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How Companies Can Improve Their Work Environment
The companies that made the top 10 list range from well-known institutions to rather obscure groups, but most provide some combination of perks, flexible schedules and a healthy work environment that better enables employees to thrive professionally and in their personal lives.
“One of the things you see constantly throughout these results is that work/life balance is more than just lip service at these companies,” said Samantha Zupan, a spokesperson for Glassdoor.
Indeed, Glassdoor’s study found that more than half of those (55%) with solid work/life balance reported having flexible starting and quitting times on a daily basis, while a third have the option to work from home and 21% have four-day work weeks. What’s more, several of the companies near the top of the list provide perks like helping to care for pets, on-site laundry services and perhaps even more importantly, they are just generally understanding when employees need to leave work early to pick up the kids or take a take a day off from time to time to handle personal issues.
“The results really speak to recognizing who your employees are, what sets them apart and ultimately what works for them specifically in terms of work/life balance,” Zupan said.
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10th Best Company: Colgate-Palmolive
The popular dental care company Colgate-Palmolive also proved to be popular with employees in the Glassdoor survey, not so much because of any particular perk, but more due to its positive company culture.
As one anonymous employee wrote in his/her review, “Colgate is truly a company that values their people. The work environment is friendly and supportive with a very social aspect. Work-life balance is a priority along with performance.”
Zupan notes that this and other employee reviews lead her to conclude that Colgate is a company where “doing a quality job is just as important as having a quality work/life balance.”
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9th Best Company: Susquehanna International Group
If you don’t follow the financial industry closely, you might not have heard of this trading firm before, but according to Glassdoor, the Susquehanna International Group is a particularly good place to work.
Employees highlighted a number of great company perks in their reviews, including three weeks of paid vacation to start, unlimited sick days, free lunch every day and even a special in-house concierge service that will service your car or do your dry cleaning. Put all of that together, and you have the formula for a healthy work environment and more time to take care of your personal needs.
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8th Best Company: Morningstar
At Morningstar, another financial institution, the secret behind the work/life balance is having a generous amount of time off, as employee reviews emphasized the “liberal time-off policy” which gives workers a six-week paid sabbatical every four years.
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7th Best Company: Facebook
Facebook may be one of the best-known companies in the world, but at first blush, one might assume it to be the kind of work environment that allows little time to cultivate a personal life. After all, programmers at companies like Facebook and Google are notorious for going on all-night coding sessions (a fact that was depicted in the Oscar-nominated film The Social Network as well.) But as Zupan points out, Facebook tries to provide its employees with a number of perks to help them manage their personal lives. For example, the company is flexible about when employees can leave during the work day, and it even provides an on-site services like a laundry center so workers can tackle some of their errands during the work day.
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6th Best Company: Slalom Consulting
Slalom consulting, a national tech consulting firm, may not be quite as well-known as Facebook, but employees praised the company for having a positive work environment that “allows everyone an opportunity to have a life after work.”
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5th Best Company: United Space Alliance
Working in the aerospace industry may be difficult work, but United Space Alliance has made the profession easier by offering flexible work times that make it easier for employees to have a life outside of the office (or space shuttle, as the case may be).
According to one employee review on Glassdoor, workers have the option to choose between an early morning schedule that leaves the afternoon open or a more traditional 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. work day. On top of that, employees can opt to work four days a week for 10 hours at a time so that they have an extra day off.
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4th Best Company: FactSet
Like some of the other financial institutions on the list, the work environment at FactSet, a financial research company, benefits from a number of perks including flexible work hours and free lunches. Moreover, multiple employees at the company noted that the company is generally relaxed, which helps the employees not to feel too overworked and carry that stress with them after hours.
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3rd Best Company: SAS Institute
SAS Institute, a software company, provides a number of fantastic perks like child care services, on-site health care and a gym, so employees can get their work done and take care of non-work matters at the same time. Score: 4.5
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2nd Best Company: MITRE
MITRE, a non-profit IT company, was praised by one employee for “providing a good balance of work and family,” thanks in particular to giving workers the option to telecommute when they need to.
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The Best Company: Nestle Purina Petcare
Nestle Purina Petcare, more than any other company on the list, succeeds at tailoring perks to the needs of their staff. As an example, Zupan points to a dog park that the company has on site for employee pets, since one can assume that those working at the company that sells pet food are more likely to have a pet themselves.
“Their employees likely care about pets, so the company has a dog park on site which makes that part of their lives easier,” Zupan said.
But the perks don’t stop there. Employees also praised the company in their reviews for having onsite fitness centers and day care to help ease these parts of their lives as well.
Interestingly, employees also emphasized the company culture, noting that employers regularly update workers about the direction of the company and bosses are “very understanding” when employees need to take time off for family reasons. In essence, it’s proof that at the end of the work day, it’s the little things that make the job seem like less of a stress on your personal life.
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