Poor Work/Life Balance Undercuts Leadership: The United States has one of the highest rates of average annual hours worked per person in industrialized economies, according to the International Labor Organization, and U.S. workers log a median of 50 hours per week, according to 2004 Harris Interactive figures. Those long hours lead to more stress and an off-kilter work/life balance, and they can lead to lessened confidence in corporate leadership. That lack of confidence also can hurt a business’s bottom line, according to data ISR collected in 2004 and its poll of more than 50,000 U.S. employees at financially high-performing companies.

Among the findings:

* Employees reporting high stress levels and poor work/life balance said their leaders did an inadequate job of setting clear direction; only 63 percent gave their leaders a favorable rating.

* 68 percent ranked their leaders favorably in communicating important matters to employees.

* 79 percent ranked leaders favorably in encouraging cooperation.

On the flip side, among survey respondents reporting low stress levels and a strong work/life balance, 74 percent ranked their leaders favorably for setting direction; 75 percent ranked them favorably for communicating important matters; and 89 percent ranked them favorably for encouraging cooperation.

Managers who staff their departments sufficiently to handle the workload, distribute work fairly, allow schedule flexibility and are considerate of employees’ personal lives yield more satisfied customers, lower absenteeism, lower accident rates and increased revenue, ISR found in comparing its results to similar recent employee satisfaction studies linking workplace culture to key business outcomes.

(Reprinted from CMI E–bridge #278. Source: SHRM Study–Poor Work/Life Balance Undercuts Leadership; report by Kathy Gurchiek)

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