How to Get Work-​Life Balance Right for Your Millennial Employees

BY Kathy Crosett
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Have you been beating yourself up about not finding the magic formula that will help your younger employees achieve a good work-​life balance? You’re not alone. A new survey from Commercial Café explains what’s going on with the work-​life balance issue and what you can do to improve the situation at your company.

Hours Worked

According to the 1,992 employees surveyed by Commercial Café, workers, by generation, spend different amounts of time on the job during a typical week. Here’s how the data breaks out:

  • Baby boomers 43 hours
  • Gen X 43 hours
  • Millennials  42 hours
  • Gen Z 38 hours

Also, 16% of baby boomers work overtime on a daily basis. Only 7% of Gen Zers say the same. It’s important to note that the extra time worked by older employees may have to do with managerial responsibilities. Meanwhile, many Gen Z members are still students and work on a part-​time basis.

Job Satisfaction

Regardless of hours worked, managers must keep track of team member satisfaction with work-​life balance. Baby boomers remember when they came of age. The super-​competitive job market in those days meant they had to work exceptionally long hours in order to make their mark and ensure getting a promotion. Their early experience ingrained the need for 'face-​time' in them.

Younger employees value their jobs and careers. But, in today's vibrant economy, younger workers are in demand. They feel confident about asking for perks, especially when they hear about their peers getting great salaries and work time flexibility. They perceive that the culture may be much better at the business down the road. 


One reason millennials want perks is because they, out of all generations, face the biggest squeeze in work-​life balance right now. Because of the recession, many got a late start at a landing a good job and building a savings cushion. They have children under 18 and 26% would like an on-​site daycare facility at work. 

While many millennials feel financial pressure, they're will to take a pay cut to reduce stress. Because they’re juggling careers and young families, 53% would be willing get earn less. Spending more time with their families and friends, and engaging in their hobbies, helps to reduce their stress. For this generation, in particular, managers should think about rewarding millennials with more time away from work.

What Managers Can Do

That doesn’t mean letting team members go home early and encouraging them to catch up on email after the kids are in bed. It means a reduced workload all around. So, you may need to reconfigure jobs to allow employees to qualify for benefits and work only 30 hours a week.

Will more office perks make your Gen X and Gen Z workers happier? Younger workers say their stress could be eased by the following features in the workplace:

  • Natural light 52% (36% have it now)
  • Outdoor space/​rooftop lounges 50% (16%)
  • Nap rooms 44% (8%)

Managers, your millennial team members want to work hard at meaningful jobs. But they don’t live to work. Show you’re sensitive to their needs by offering creatively structured positions, flexibility and better in-​office perks.