11 work-life balance options that will make your organization a talent magnet

In today’s competitive job market, employers need to provide meaningful work-life balance options if they want to attract and retain top talent.

Work-life balance has become an increasingly important factor for employees when choosing where to work, and offering these options can set companies apart from their competitors. A 2021 survey of 1,000 workers by well-being provider Limeade found 26 percent of respondents cited better work-life balance as the top reason they switched companies.¹

This article will explore the power of offering work-life balance as a strategic tool for attracting and retaining high-quality employees. By providing flexible scheduling, remote work opportunities, shorter hours, and other well-being initiatives, companies can create a culture that values employees while boosting morale and productivity.

1. Offer remote work

In the age of increased globalization, the number of employees working remotely has grown significantly.

Offering remote work options is an attractive perk for employees who want to manage their schedule and exert more control over where they work. Background check provider GoodHire surveyed 3,500 US workers and found that 45 percent of employees would take a pay cut if it meant they could continue working remotely. One-third of respondents would quit if their employers forced them to return to the office full-time.

Pie chart showing that 45% of employees would take a pay cut if it meant they could continue working remotely

Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed think companies who don’t offer remote work are going to have a hard time finding qualified applicants, which suggests remote work is now table stakes for many employers.

While not every role can be done remotely, companies should consider allowing employees to do the parts of their job that are computer-based offsite. For example, project managers on a construction site might like the opportunity to tally payroll or complete change orders from the comfort of their homes.

2. Allow flexible scheduling

Where fully remote work isn’t possible, flexible scheduling can provide other employees some of the autonomy remote workers enjoy.

Flexible scheduling will look different for different industries. For example, hotels and restaurants might embrace split shifts that let workers handle errands like picking kids up at school or running to the bank in between the predictable rushes of the day. Or, employers might allow employees to adjust their start and end times to save their workforce the stress of sitting in traffic during their commute.

Many companies are adopting compressed schedules like a 4/10 or 9/80 work cycle. In a 4/10 schedule, employees work 10-hour days but have every Friday off. On a 9/80 schedule, employees work nine-hour days but take every other Friday off.

Regardless of the form it takes, employers need to take flexible scheduling under consideration if they want to retain top talent. A 2021 Pew Research survey found 24 percent of workers who quit at the onset of the Great Resignation left because they lacked flexibility in when they put in their hours.

3. Consider working fewer hours

US employees work more hours than all but six countries, according to the most recent Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) data. For all that extra effort, US productivity sits squarely in the middle of the pack.

The solution might just be working less. More companies are experimenting with policies like reducing the work week to 32 hours.

The thinking? Longer hours take a toll on a worker’s physical, mental, and emotional health. That leads to more sick days and less work getting done when workers are on the clock. It also sets workers up for burnout. Pew Research found 20 percent of workers quit because their jobs forced too many hours on them.

In February 2023, the nonprofit advocacy group 4 Day Week Global released results from their latest pilot program. Of the 61 companies that participated, 92 percent plan to continue the four-day work week. Staff attrition at the pilot companies fell by 57 percent.

4. Give longtime employees sabbaticals

Hiring new employees is expensive and time-consuming. Sabbaticals can be a powerful tool for employee retention. They show that the company values its employees and is willing to invest in them.

A sabbatical is an extended period of paid or unpaid leave from work. It can range from a few months to a year, and it is typically used as an opportunity for an employee to pursue new interests and recharge.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) found that only 11 percent of employers offer unpaid sabbaticals, while five percent offer paid sabbaticals.

Sabbaticals are a great way for companies to show their appreciation for employees who have been with them for a long time. It rewards them for their loyalty and hard work. It also allows the employee to gain new skills and perspectives, which can be beneficial to the company when they return.

To date, research into the effect of sabbaticals on employers and employees is thin and dated. However, anecdotal evidence shows an extended leave reduces the likelihood of burnout and stress. More surprisingly, sabbaticals can benefit the company, too, since it provides an opportunity for other employees to gain leadership experience during their supervisor’s absence.

5. Offer more paid time off

The US does not mandate paid leave for things like sick days, childbirth, bereavement, or even personal time off.

In the absence of federal laws, it’s up to employers to offer paid leave or not. In low-wage industries, time-off benefits can be a differentiator for a company. However, even the tech and finance world can edge out their competitors for top talent by increasing how much time employees can take off to take care of life events and go on vacation.

By providing an additional week or two of paid time off, companies can show their appreciation for their employees and signal that work-life balance is valued in the organization.

6. Establish meeting-free days

Sometimes, the best way to help employees manage their work-life balance is to give them what they want: fewer meetings.

Many companies are establishing meeting-free days where all nonessential meetings are canceled. This gives employees much-needed time to focus on getting actual work done without being sidetracked or interrupted by a calendar full of meetings.

Additionally, having meeting-free days allows employees to take the time they need for their personal development. Maybe that means catching up on emails or exploring other interests outside of their job duties.

7. Create a family-friendly workplace

Workers don’t appreciate employers that make them choose between a paycheck and their family. Companies that institute family-friendly initiatives in the workplace show they understand and value their employees’ home lives.

This could be as simple as encouraging family members to attend holiday parties or letting parents duck out of the office to pick up their kids from school. Other employers go a step further and offer onsite childcare.

Creating a culture where family is valued and respected can go a long way toward keeping parents happy and productive in the workplace.

8. Support employee education

The best employees want to stay at the top of their game, so employers should invest in continuing educational opportunities.

To encourage employees to attend classes or seminars, companies can provide tuition reimbursement and treat class time as part of the work week. When employees don’t feel like they have to treat their education like a second job, it shows the company values professional development.

It also helps ensure they have the latest skills and knowledge that will make them successful in their jobs.

9. Provide well-being services

Employee burnout is a huge problem in the workplace, but companies can provide tools and resources to make their workforce healthier and more productive.

Well-being programs offer things like fitness classes, healthy eating initiatives, stress management resources, and access to mental health services.

While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution for creating a work-life balance program, employers need to consider offering some of these options if they want to remain competitive in today’s job market. By offering meaningful work-life balance initiatives, companies can create a culture where employees feel valued. A 2021 survey of 1,000 US workers by Limeade found 16 percent of workers quit because they believed their employer didn’t care about their well-being.

Treating employees with respect and providing benefits that make their lives better is critical for any organization looking to boost morale, increase productivity, and retain valuable employees.

10. Plan company-wide days off

A day off doesn’t exactly feel like a day off if your manager is pinging you the whole time you’re gone.

That’s why some companies are planning synchronized time off.

The idea is to allow employees to relax, recharge, and reconnect with friends and family without worrying about colleagues piling work on their desks.

11. Set a culture around communication and overtime

Organizations should also create a culture around communication that encourages employees to speak up about their workload and schedule if they are feeling overwhelmed or overworked.

Employers should encourage their employees to take a clean break from the workday and focus on their well-being. A 2019 study of 2,500-plus academics and university staff found that employees who felt required to burn the midnight oil, whether overtime was mandatory or not, felt worse about their employer. That dissatisfaction led to lower productivity.

To combat the “grind culture,” everyone in a leadership role needs to set a good example. 

Take regular breaks throughout the day, don’t send or respond to emails after hours, and set up boundaries between work and personal time.

By creating an environment that values work-life balance, companies can help their employees avoid burnout and maintain a healthy balance between their professional and personal lives.

Value employees for the skills they bring to the table, not the hours they’re in their seats

Quote stating that companies myst demonstrate that they care about employee wellbeing through policy and culture

In a competitive hiring environment like employers face today, companies must demonstrate through policy and culture that they care about their employees’ well-being. 

The businesses that rise to that challenge will discover they are an employer of choice, which makes it easier to hire and retain top talent.
That’s why we encourage companies to embrace the changing dynamics of the employer-employee relationship. Learn more about how to take care of your employees with our guide to navigating work dynamics in a post-pandemic world.


  1. The Great Resignation Update: Limeade Employee Care Report https://www.limeade.com/resources/resource-center/limeade-employee-care-report-the-great-resignation-update/

Hire the best candidates
with TestGorilla.

Create pre-employment assessments in minutes to screen candidates, save time, and hire the best talent.

Try for free

The best advice in pre-employment testing, in your inbox.

No spam. Unsubscribe at any time.

Hire the best. No bias. No stress.

Our screening tests identify the best candidates and make your hiring decisions faster, easier, and bias-free.

Try for free

Free resources