Survey Says: Work-Life Balance Is the Biggest Marker of Career Success

By Rieva LesonskyBusiness on Main

What matters most

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Not only is Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer stirring up the blogosphere with her no-more-telecommuting edict, but chances are she’s not making her employees very happy either. Globally, employees rank work-life balance as the single most important factor in career success — above salary, recognition or opportunities for promotion, according to a survey by Accenture.

More than two-thirds of both men and women believe it is possible to “have it all” (although half say it’s impossible to have it all at the same time). And more than half (52 percent) say they’ve turned down a job because they were concerned about how it would affect their work-life balance.

What it means to your business: Business insiders are saying Mayer’s move is intended to force attrition at Yahoo by driving less-valuable employees away. However, they’re also saying the move could make it tougher to attract new, better employees to replace the old ones, since flexible work policies are becoming fairly de rigueur today. So if you want to hang on to your valuable workers, Accenture’s survey results suggest making your workplace less flexible is not a smart move.

Is everybody happy?

Speaking of contented workers and flexible work schedules, allowing your staff to telecommute not only makes them happy, but increases their productivity as well, according to a survey by Staples Advantage.

Most of the employers surveyed (75 percent) said telecommuting leads to happier employees. But this isn’t about being a touchy-feely boss: Telecommuting also delivers bottom-line benefits. According to the bosses, telecommuting makes their employees more productive (53 percent) and decreases absenteeism (37 percent). And 48 percent of employees who telecommute say they’re less stressed.

What it means to your business: Creating a telecommuting program is not without its problems. The Staples Advantage survey says dealing with tech issues is the biggest challenge for one-third of work-at-home employees; 59 percent don’t use their companies’ backup systems, which puts sensitive data at risk; and 48 percent use non-ergonomic furniture and equipment — which could lead to workers’ comp claims. Make sure your employees are set up to work safely and effectively at home.

Do you feel lucky? Well, do you?

A survey by Manta asked business owners what role they thought luck had played in their businesses. Surprisingly, nearly 40 percent said luck had no role in their success — instead, they cited hard work, good timing, networking and making good hiring choices as the biggest influences on the success of their companies.

Far from relying on luck when it comes to betting on their futures, 73 percent of business owners claimed if they had to choose between their businesses succeeding and winning the lottery, they’d pick business success. Who do entrepreneurs think is the luckiest businessperson today? Sixty percent name Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Unluckiest is J.C. Penney’s Ron Johnson, named by 38 percent.

What it means to your business: You shouldn’t discount luck entirely (62 percent said being lucky was at least somewhat responsible for their success), but, as the saying goes, you have to make your own luck. How do you do that? Networking (31 percent), providing great customer service (25 percent), improving your business’s visibility (21 percent) and trying new things (20 percent) were the methods most often suggested.

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