Employees with flexible jobs say they have a better work-life balance than those who do not have flexible work options, according to results of FlexJobs’ Work-Life-Relationship survey released Feb. 11.

The survey also found that flexible work options may have a positive effect on mental health. People with mental emotional or personal issues who answered the survey thought having a flex job would help them better manage their circumstances.

Work-life balance tops the reasons people seek flexible jobs (67 percent), the survey found.

According to a release highlighting the findings, management heavily influences how workers achieve work-life balance, varying significantly between those who currently have flexible work options and those who do not.

Key findings:

• 54 percent of respondents with flexible work options said their work-life balance was either great or very good, compared to only 29 percent of respondents without flexible work options who reported the same thing.
• 21 percent of respondents with flexible work options say they’re currently stressed by their level of work-life balance, while more than double that (4 percent) working without flexible options said the same thing.
• 35 percent with flexible work options said “My boss’s work habits make work-life balance easy for me” compared to only 14 percent of those without flexible work options who said the same thing.
• 27 percent with flexible work options said, “My boss’s habits make work-life balance difficult for me,” but 40 percent of those without flexible work options said their boss’s habits make work-life balance difficult for them.

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Among other findings, 100 percent remote work remains the most popular choice for flexible work (80 percent) for the fifth year in a row.

Flexible schedules are the second most popular preference (55 percent), followed by remote work some of the time (4 percent), part-time schedules (34 percent) and freelance work (32 percent).

FlexJobs, which matches job seekers with remote, part-time, freelance and flexible jobs, asked 3,900 people about how work impacts their personal health, stress levels, work-life balance and family and romantic relationships. Of this group, 2,100 people identified themselves as having a mental condition such as anxiety or depression.

A large majority of that group — 84 percent — said they thought having a flexible job would help them better manage their mental health.

In addition, 35 percent of the overall pool said they have had to take a break from work because of difficult personal circumstances  — for example, death, divorce, serious physical or mental illness for themselves or a loved one.

Of those, 88 percent said that if their job had offered flexibility during those circumstances, they would have been able to remain in the workforce, and 83 percent said that work has conflicted with their efforts to take care of their overall health.

“As our survey findings confirm, flexible work can play a very positive role in supporting employees who have mental health issues or who are going through difficult life circumstances,” said Sara Sutton, founder and CEO of FlexJobs.

“According to Mental Health America, more than half of employees are afraid to take a day off to attend to their mental health. Allowing employees to work flexibly reduces the conflict that we all experience between our personal and professional lives, and equips everyone to better meet their mental, emotional, and physical needs,” Sutton said.

The results of FlexJobs’ survey also suggest that flexible work arrangements can improve physical health, romantic relationships and overall well-being.

FLEXIBLE JOBS AND PERSONAL HEALTH
• 95 percent of respondents reported that a flexible job would likely make them a happier person in general.
• 89 percent thought it would help them take better care of themselves.
• 86 percent believed it would decrease their levels of stress.
• 67 percent thought it would increase the frequency they exercised.

FLEXIBLE JOBS AND RELATIONSHIPS
• 88 percent of respondents said having a flexible job would create more time to spend with family.
• 78 percent thought it would help them be more available for friendships in their life.
• 94 percent of those with children (or plan to have children someday) thought a job with work flexibility would help them be a better parent.
• 85 percent of those with pets said it would help them be a better pet owner.

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