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Almost 31% of Employees Today Would Sacrifice Salary for a Better Work-Life Balance

By Maurie Backman - Jan 30, 2020 at 11:01AM

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Talk about a telling statistic.

A decent work-life balance is hard to achieve these days. Technology makes it possible to always be available to our employers, whether by checking email late at night, responding to emergencies on weekends, or even logging on while on vacation overseas to tackle problems no one else is equipped to handle.

It's not shocking, then, that 28% of baby boomers, 35.3% of Gen Xers, and 38.6% of millennials feel they haven't yet achieved the right work-life balance, according to a recent survey by But what's more surprising is the fact that 30.9% of employees say they'd be willing to give up some of their income if that meant striking a better balance between being available at work and having some semblance of a personal life.

Man at laptop pinching his nose while holding eyeglasses, with several crumpled papers strewn about his desktop.


Now in some situations, that approach could actually work. For example, a high-profile corporate lawyer who trades in that gig for a role in a smaller firm could easily see his or her work-life balance improve -- at the cost of a major pay cut, of course. But for many workers, giving up a chunk of their income isn't the answer.

Imagine you're a web developer who works 50 hours a week and earns $90,000. You may find a job that pays you $80,000, but chances are, that role won't be much less demanding than the one you have now.

The point? If work-life balance is an issue for you, don't assume that giving up part of your income will solve the problem. Instead, change your approach to your current job to carve out the time you need for yourself.

Achieving that ideal balance

A big part of feeling better about your work-life balance could boil down to setting boundaries -- both for yourself as well as your employer. If you have a habit of checking your work email late at night, or logging on over the weekend to get a jump-start on your upcoming tasks, quit it. Designate certain nighttime hours as email-free, and give yourself a maximum of one hour of worktime over the weekend so you can enjoy more downtime instead.

At the same time, make these changes clear to the people you work with. Tell your colleagues not to expect you to be available to troubleshoot issues late at night, and inform your boss that while you're happy to help out on occasional weekends for emergencies, he or she shouldn't expect to see you online as a matter of course.

Another important move? Use the vacation time you're entitled to. American workers are notoriously bad at taking time off, but if you let yourself escape the office here and there, you'll give yourself the break you need and deserve.

Finally, let yourself off the hook during slower periods at the office. If work tends to slow down in the summer, limit your hours during that time. It's an easy way to give yourself a break without negative repercussions.

The fact that nearly one-third of American workers would sacrifice income for better balance is a clear indication that far too many employees feel overworked and overwhelmed. If that sounds like you, change your habits so you're able to carve out the time you need to feel like a human.

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