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101 Reasons to Care About Employees' Lives Outside of Work

Patrick Ball on November 10, 2015 11:26 AM

Caring about employees' lives outside of work is a competitive advantage

Employee benefits like health and dental are an expected cost of compensation, but work-life and work-family programs are largely still considered "fringe" benefits or work perks. 

Except only if you ask any employee, they’ll tell you: “My family isn’t fringe.”  And there’s the rub. 

As more and more companies are starting to take stock of the realities of our modern families, we’re beginning to see a shift in the way leading employers are approaching work-life benefits, like paid parental leave and workplace flexibility. They’re finding that family-friendly, work-life balance focused benefits offer a competitive advantage, not only in terms of recruiting and retention, but by cutting absenteeism and boosting productivity as well. 

Still not convinced? From common sense insights to statistical analysis, we’ve rounded up 101 points building the business case why caring about employees, their families and their lives outside of work is important if an organization expects to thrive in today’s modern work world. 

  1. Employees are three-dimensional people, whose lives outside of work affect their job performance.

  2. Not everyone has kids, but everyone has someone they call family – be it parents, pets, siblings or others – who they care about and will provide care for.

  3. Employees, increasingly, value flexibility and work-life balance as a factor in evaluating employment opportunities and job satisfaction.

  4. Negative Glassdoor reviews will be less of a concern if employees feel their company cares (or cared) about their life outside of work.

  5. And 91 percent of employees with work-life benefits would recommend them to a friend.

  6. When an employee’s kid catches the bug, if they don’t have the support or flexibility to care for their kid then the chances of that bug spreading around the office increase tenfold.

  7. When the dog walker cancels, employees become impossibly distracted worrying about torn up cushions and what they’ll later find the floor.

  8. When mom falls, someone has to drive her to doctor’s appointments and rehab.  

  9. When the nanny’s car breaks down, working moms and dads scramble to figure out who’s watching the kids this morning and off the bus in the afternoon. A little flexibility here prevents a full day out of the office.

  10. Family emergencies don’t wait for deadlines. (So, next time you see an employee texting during a meeting don’t assume they’re on face book; they may well be dealing with a family crisis.)

  11. Snow days, religious holidays and other occasions when school is canceled and work isn’t are difficult for employees without telecommuting capabilities.

  12. Unscheduled absenteeism is super-expensive, costing employers an estimated $3,600 per year for hourly workers and $2,650 annually for salaried employees.

  13. Those afternoon practices … because the next Megan Rapinoe can’t coach her own youth soccer team.

    via GIPHY

  14. 51% of parents say back-to-school season, in general, interferes with work.

  15. 64% of parents worry about their child’s safety every minute, according to a member survey.

  16. Every minute spent worrying about a kid is a minute not spent focusing completely on the work task at hand.

  17. Mani-pedis and trips to the gym make for extra-long lunch breaks, which is why many employers have brought these types of services in-house.

  18. Speaking of lunch breaks … employees who work through lunch get hangry.

  19. And so do the ones who dine al desko everyday.

  20. 93% of employees admit to “homing from work,” according to the Captivate Network, taking care of errands like dry-cleaning, doctor’s appointments and hiring child care during the workday.

  21. Progressive companies who provide these services as benefits and work perks have found that doing so limits workday disruptions … and helps with employer branding.

  22. 42 percent of Americans didn’t take a single vacation day, according to research from the travel website Skift.

    via GIPHY

  23. Employees skipping vacation is a net negative for businesses, because workers who take the least amount of time off wind up being the most stressed.

  24. Stress costs enterprises around $300 billion annually, according to the World Health Organization.

  25. Full-time U.S. employees work an average of 47 hours a week, and almost 40 percent say they put in more than 50 hours per week, a Gallup poll found.

  26. Yet, working more hours doesn’t necessarily make employees more productive.

  27. In fact, research has found productivity falls considerably after 50 hours, and output gets exponentially worse beyond 55 hours.

  28. And you know what all work and no play did to Jack.

    via GIPHY

  29. The population is aging.

  30. By 2035 there will be 44 Americans aged 65 or older for every 100 adults between 25 and 64, according to UN estimates.

  31. Nearly half of adults in their 40s and 50s are already in what what’s commonly called the “Sandwich Generation,” meaning they have parents age 65 or older and are either raising or financially supporting children of their own.

  32. Upwards of 40 million informal caregivers provide care to adults with limitations each year in the United States.

  33. The majority of these caregivers have jobs, and about half work of them work full-time.

  34. Nearly 70 percent of working caregivers are forced to make career adjustments, such as turning down promotions, scaling back hours or even leaving their jobs.

  35. The unpaid contributions of family caregivers had an estimated economic value of about $450 billion in 2009 alone, according to a report by AARP’s Public Policy Institute.

  36. Meanwhile, American businesses are losing tens of billions in annual productivity costs due to care-related issues like reduced hours, absenteeism and presenteeism.

    via GIPHY

  37. And, by the way, this is not a women's issue. About 45% of senior caregivers are men, according to Pew Research.

  38. Child care is the biggest household expense for many American families, costing around $18,000 annually.

  39. After-school care alone costs about $200 per week.

  40. 69 percent of working parents said child care has influenced career decisions, according to’s second Cost of Care survey.

  41. 89 percent of these working parents want family care benefits.

  42. Yet 81 percent say their employers don’t offer any.

  43. And so 26 percent of these parents have changed jobs for better family benefits.  

  44. 90 percent of employees have had to leave work for family reasons, according to’s Better Benefits survey.

  45. 30 percent of employees have cut back by 6 or more hours per week due to family responsibilities.

  46. 41 percent of working parents found the lack of work-life benefits has hurt their work performance. 

  47. 62 percent of employees would leave their job for one with better work-life benefits.

  48. Only 30 percent of respondents are "very satisfied" with their work-life benefits.

  49. About 1 in 10 employees aren't satisfied at all, Better Benefits survey respondents said.

    via GIPHY

  50. Employer provided work-life benefits, like those offered through’s Workplace Solutions, help families find quality, affordable care solutions and improve employee engagement, performance and retention.

  51. Basically, a company’s most inexpensive benefit could help working parents with their largest household challenge and expense.

  52. 74 percent of employees can better focus on their jobs when they know their family needs are met, according to a client survey.

  53. 83 percent of client employees said access to access to care assistance benefits has helped meet their work-live balance goals.

  54. 80 percent of employees with access to BackupCare have been able to work addition hours.

  55. 85 percent of employees are more satisfied with their jobs, thanks to employer-provided access to Workplace Solutions.  

  56. 80 percent of working moms feel stressed about getting everything done, according to a 2014 survey.

  57. These moms are spending 37 hours a week working.

  58. And 80 hours per week on chores, child care and housekeeping.

  59. It adds up -- 25 percent of those working moms reported crying at work at least once a week.

    via GIPHY

  60. And 11 percent of working moms are late to work or call in sick at least once a week, the survey said.

  61. 68 million women are employed in the United States, making up almost half of the labor force.

  62. The American economy is $2 trillion, or 13.5 percent, richer thanks to women’s increased labor force participation since the 1970s.

  63. Businesses that support women in leadership and management positions perform better, research has shown.

  64. In 6 of 10 American households with children, all parents work.

  65. That’s up from 4 out of 10 in 1965.

  66. The US is the only developed nation in the world without a national policy providing paid parental leave for new moms.

    via GIPHY

  67. Lacking a federal policy, only 13 percent of American workers have access to any paid leave, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

  68. An incredible 23 percent of women return to work within two weeks of giving birth, because they have no paid leave or job protection.

  69. Women with access to paid leave are more likely to return to work – and to their pre-birth employers – within a year after giving birth.

  70. Dads want parental leave, too.

  71. 93 percent of Millennial fathers feel paid parental leave is important, according to a Boston College Center for Work and Family report.

  72. But 16 percent of new dads not taking a single day off work around the birth of a child.

  73. 38 percent of US millennials said they’d “move to another country with better parental leave benefits,” according to a global survey released by EY.

  74. Millennials, who have become the largest workforce demographic (and our next generation of leaders) hold more egalitarian views on gender and work-family dynamics than past generations.

    via GIPHY

  75. For example, 54 percent of US millennials have – or would be willing to – pass up a promotion to better manage work-life integration, the EY survey found.

  76. Thanks in part to growing millennial influence, work-life benefits – including paid parental leave – are becoming increasingly important recruiting and retention tactics.

  77. Yet 58 percent of working millennial moms told Pew Research being a working mom makes it harder to get ahead at work.

  78. And 37 percent of millennial female HBS alumni reported they expect family to disrupt their careers.

  79. When working moms drop out of the workforce, they limit their lifetime earning (and spending) potential by 30 percent, according to estimates. 

  80. Their employers, meanwhile, lose out on valuable intellectual capital and experience, in incur costly turnover expenses.

  81. Paid leave, care assistance and flexibility are important ways to help working caregivers succeed.

  82. To that end, 100 percent of Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies provide flexible hours for employees.

  83. 67 percent of employers feel workers have work-life balance, according to the 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study.

  84. 45 percent of employees disagree, the study says.

    via GIPHY

  85. And 75 percent of employees rank flexibility as their top workplace benefit.

  86. 87 percent of HR leaders connect flexibility with employee satisfaction, and almost 70 percent use flex work as a recruiting and retention tool.

  87. If you don’t allow flexibility, people will find it on their own.

  88. And probably make up horrible excuses, which can strain your culture of transparency.  

  89. Because the traditional 9 to 5 doesn’t exist anymore.

  90. Constant contact is the expectation, according to two-thirds of employees and job seekers who say their managers expect them to be accessible outside of the office.

  91. Roughly the same amount of HR managers expect their employees to be accessible outside of work hours, the Workplace Flexibility Study found.

    via GIPHY

  92. Those same technologies that allow after-hours accessibility also enable flexible work arrangements and telecommuting options.

  93. And more flexibility doesn’t mean less productivity, as research has shown.

  94. What flex work can do, however, is improve work-life balance by cutting down on commute time and giving employees hours back in their days to spend with families or on their passions.

  95. Overwork and job stress keep many employees up at night.

  96. Which is counterproductive, because lack of sleep hurts job performance.

  97. Employees struggling with insomnia, too little and too much sleep, collectively cost employers between five and nine days of work and cost the U.S. economy more than $60 billion annually.

  98. Overwork could actually be responsible for 120,000 deaths and 5 to 8 percent of annual healthcare costs annually, according to research out of Harvard Business School.

  99. American corporate culture has not kept up with modern families.

  100. Even when flexibility and work-life benefits are offered, they often do not have the desired effect because the company culture doesn’t employer employees to find their work-life balance.

  101. Because when working families succeed, American businesses succeed and the American economy succeeds.



And, because even the most generous work-life benefits package is only as effective as employee utilization, check out our free guide to leveraging targeted lifestage marketing to improve employee communication and benefits utilization. 
Employee Benefits Communication