Throughout the pandemic, employees have reported higher levels of burnout, fatigue and working longer hours. This disenchantment has reached a fever pitch as thousands of employees continue to quit their jobs in a mass exodus economists have dubbed "The Great Resignation."
Some companies, however, are taking meaningful steps to keep their employees happy and healthy during this crisis, according to a new report from Glassdoor. Glassdoor's analysts read millions of reviews from current and former U.S.-based full-time employees between March 2020 and September 2021 to determine which companies have achieved the best work-life balance.
Here are the top 10 highest-rated companies for work-life balance, according to Glassdoor:
Tech companies dominate the list, as many employers were equipped for a quick transition to remote work during the onset of the pandemic and historically offer flexible work-from-home policies. Daniel Zhao, a senior economist and data scientist at Glassdoor, notes that many of the highest-rated employers have prioritized employee well-being during the pandemic by offering policies like working from anywhere, unlimited PTO (paid time off) and flexible schedules.
"The ability to work from home or at the very least have flexible work arrangements continues to be very valuable for workers during the pandemic," Zhao tells CNBC Make It. "When you look at the highest-rated industries for work-life balance, like tech and real estate, many of those jobs can be done from home, and workers have really appreciated that flexibility."
"Even employees who might not realize that they're burned out or needed those policies benefit from additional PTO or these flexible work arrangements," he adds.
For example: employees at Acuity Insurance, a small company headquartered in Sheboygan, Wisconsin, which ranked #1 on the list, consistently praised the company's flexible working policies, which allow workers to extend their weekends if they work more hours earlier in the week. Other employees noted the company's generous work-from-home policies. As one person wrote, "Acuity truly embraces work-life balance: it's not just jargon."
Industries with less remote work opportunities like retail, restaurants and transportation ranked lower for work-life balance. Zhao points out that companies in these industries have struggled with improving work-life balance for their employees as working from home is "simply not feasible," even during the pandemic. "On top of that, many of these industries have faced labor shortages or disruptions to their workforce, which makes scheduling and balancing jobs and personal lives even more difficult for employees," he adds. One exception, according to the report, is car dealerships, like CarShop, a dealership headquartered in Chester Springs, Pennsylvania that employees commended for its "family"-like atmosphere.
Glassdoor's report also found that mental health concerns continue to be top of mind for employees, and that the companies that have taken action to address employee burnout, like offering additional PTO, tended to rank higher for work-life balance. The percentage of reviews on Glassdoor discussing burnout jumped 100% during the pandemic while the proportion of employees mentioning mental health on Glassdoor increased by 143%. Most mentions of burnout have been negative, the analysts discovered, suggesting that workers are increasingly dissatisfied with how their companies are caring for employees' mental health.
To better address employee burnout, Zhao says companies needed to establish clear expectations around work and time off. "Leading by example is also really important to respect employees' home lives, because if your boss is contacting you at all hours of the night, that suggests that they expect you to respond to emails in the middle of the night," he says. "Make sure you set boundaries, whether as a hiring manager or even as an employee, and check that leaders are abiding by them as well, to set a good example for the rest of the organization."