Proven Approaches Employers Can Use to Promote Work Life Balance in the U.S.

Employers in the United States increasingly recognize that their employees need work life balance. The negative impacts of overwhelmed employees have become evident. The 2021 Work and Well-Being Survey by the American Psychological Association found that close to 60% of workers reported mental, emotional, or physical exhaustion due to work-related stress. [1] These effects result in reduced effort on the job.

Challenges facing U.S. workers include long hours, understaffing, and limited rights to vacation time or sick leave. Sources of stress outside of work often arise from difficulties obtaining childcare or caring for elderly relatives. Employers that want to alleviate these strains can adopt proven methods that help workers achieve work life balance.

work life balance in the US

Work Life Balance Defined

Work life balance can look different for different people, but the overall goal remains the same for U.S. workers. Workplace strategies should empower workers to give their attention equally to their personal and professional lives without feeling undue conflict between the two priorities. [2] The results should be ongoing and sustainable so that people can manage the inevitable ups and downs of life without sacrificing their well-being or performance quality on the job.

Common Approaches to Work Life Balance

No matter how U.S. employers choose to support their employees’ work life balance, management and health experts emphasize the need to install a company culture that values work life balance. Leadership needs to model healthy behavior instead of insisting on long hours or devaluing otherwise valuable employees who need time off to attend to their personal lives. [3]

Research supports these tactics for reducing corrosive pressure on employees:

  • Flexible working hours
  • Four-day workweek
  • Childcare subsidies
  • Elder care support
  • More vacation time

Proven Work Life Balance Strategies

Managers at U.S. companies can build upon the success of these proven methods. One or more of these programs will nurture productive employees and help them feel comfortably in control of their personal responsibilities and wellness needs.

Flexible Work Hours

A proven and often relatively easy way for U.S. employers to support work life balance is flexibility in work scheduling and location. A company does not have to increase compensation to enable flexibility.

Workers respond very positively to flexible work hours because they can schedule both work and personal activities with minimal compromises. In one study, 73% of employees reported that flexibility increased their satisfaction with their jobs. [4]

Flexibility can be:

  • Option to telecommute when necessary
  • Part-time job positions
  • Job sharing
  • Freedom to work more hours some days and reduce hours on other days [5]

Research published in the American Journal of Industrial and Business Management concluded that better work life balance improved employee performance. [6] Additional benefits for employers included less turnover and absenteeism as well as greater loyalty and engagement. [7]

With flexible work schedules, employees can manage their daily stresses better. Reduced stress produced an overall improvement in worker mental health. [8]

Four-Day Workweek

Surveys strongly support the use of the four-day workweek. The benefits are numerous for both employers and employees. [9]

A substantial number of employers participating in a large trial of the four-day workweek had positive experiences. An extra day off every week for workers did not reduce productivity. Employee turnover eased back, and revenue increases were common among the organizations. [10]

The arrangement was so popular with employees that 90% approved of the four-day work schedule. Many found that they felt better able to perform their duties. [11]

Workplace Childcare Subsidies

When employers invest in childcare services for their workers, the rate of employee retention improves. [12] A study published in the Global Journal of Management and Business Research scored companies in the IT sector according to how much they supported childcare needs for workers. A clear correlation between high scores for childcare subsidization and employee retention emerged. [13]

U.S. employers have some options for helping their employees overcome childcare challenges and expenses.

Childcare subsidies can be:

  • Monetary allowances to pay childcare centers
  • On-site childcare
  • Contracts with babysitting services to cover childcare emergencies for employees

U.S. employers already subsidizing childcare enjoy greater employee retention and productivity. [14]

work life balance in the US

Elder Care Support

In the United States, a 2015 study counted 43.5 million people as unpaid family caregivers to the elderly or disabled adults. Many of these people are prime working age adults who hold jobs but give anywhere from 19 to 24 hours of weekly service to their elderly relatives. [15]

These duties place a burden on caregivers who provide home care and have to take elderly relatives to medical appointments. They are likely to need to step away from work on a regularly basis to aid their vulnerable relatives.

Work life balance policies to help employees with elder care responsibilities can be:

  • Family leave time
  • Flexible work schedules
  • Sympathetic management

A workplace where people have no fear of retaliation for family leave makes workers feel comfortable helping their aging relatives. Flexible work schedules benefit all employees but are particularly helpful for caregivers who can expect their relatives to have medical emergencies. [16]

Even in the absence of formal elder care policies, employees report less stress when they simply know that their managers will not penalize them for taking time off. [17]

More Vacation Time

Work life balance is most apparent when employees have sufficient time to recharge physically, mentally, and emotionally. Time away from work does this by letting people rest and pursue recreational activities. They get to focus on their important relationships and have enriching experiences. [18]

Employers benefit from workers who take regular vacations. Workers who feel refreshed perform better and have the energy to engage creatively with their work. Absenteeism declines, and generous vacation time offerings also give companies an advantage when recruiting talent. [19]

The work life balance produced by more time off yields good results for employees. Workers taking more than 10 vacation days a year have a 65.4% chance of increasing their earnings compared to workers who go on vacation less, whose likelihood of getting a raise or bonus is only 34.6%. [20]


Studies and surveys consistently prove that organizations that prioritize work life balance have more satisfied and productive employees. By reducing the conflict that people feel between their work duties and personal lives, employers reduce costly problems associated with employee turnover, absenteeism, and low worker engagement.





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About Author

Founder of With over 20 years of experience in HR and various roles in corporate world, Jenny shares tips and advice to help professionals advance in their careers. Her blog is a go-to resource for anyone looking to improve their skills, land their dream job, or make a career change.

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