Habit Shift™


HabitShift™ for Balance & Wellness

In our increasingly hectic world, finding the balance between work and home is more and more difficult.

William Taylor, co-founder of Fast Company magazine, recently asked an audience the following question: "Which would you rather have: a 20 percent raise, five more hours of free time a week, or a one month sabbatical?"

Fifty-five percent chose the sabbatical. Twenty-five percent wanted five more hours of free time a week; 20 percent would take the raise.

Work/life balance is a hot topic. People are taking a look at their lives and saying, "If winning at business today means working 60 hours a week, traveling three to four nights a week, and checking my e-mail at 11 p.m., then maybe I'll leave the rat race to the rodents."

Increases in workplace accidents and lost time, escalating complaints of back pain, sleeplessness, or impaired concentration - these are all physical manifestations of workplace stress. The US National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) reported that approximately 25% of workers feel their job is overly stressful and their lives are out of balance.

And that number is probably low. As employers rely more and more on existing workforces to meet increasing production deadlines and goals, employee workloads and stress levels continue to rise.

According to WebMD, more and more employees suffer from "additional stressors, including long hours, time away from home and family, office politics and conflicts between workers, wages not commensurate with levels of responsibility and – in this competitive society – unrelenting and unreasonable demands for performance."

So, how can you regain control of your life, be reasonably happy, and still make a living? There are dozens of books on the market that provide good tools and techniques. However, none of these ideas will help you if you don't know how to make the changes last. Durable behavior change involves examining what we think and how we think.

The HabitShift™ workshops can help.

The Business Case for Work / Life Balance

When companies started to consider work/life issues in the 1980's and 1990's, there were no strong data to back up the intuitive sense that it was an important thing for employers to do. Over the past decade, however, an abundance of data point to this inescapable conclusion: employer efforts to support employees' work/life balance is simply good for business.


The Conference Board of Canada's Survey of Canadian Workers on Work-Life Balance (1999) found that, between 1989 and 1999, twice as many Canadians reported moderate to high levels of stress as a result of trying to balance their work and home lives. These stress levels are reflected in health problems and absences. Respondents who report a high degree of stress in balancing work and family life also report missing an average of 7.2 days of work per year; those who report very little stress in balancing work and family miss, on average, only 3.6 days.

According to the 2000 Watson Wyatt: Staying @ Work Study, a survey of large employers in the US, short-term absences doubled in the last three years of the 20th Century. It concluded that the best way to address absenteeism is to provide resources for employees to better balance their work life and home life.

Recruitment and Retention

In the Executive View Study conducted by Canadian Facts and sponsored by The Globe and Mail, 1,850 CEOs and business leaders were asked, "What issues about your business are most likely to keep you awake at night?" The most common response was not profitability or competition but the demands of attracting, training and retaining staff. Seventy-one per cent of leaders anticipated problems in retaining skilled workers.

As a result of the competition for talent, the aging workforce, and the shrinking of the labor pool, companies have seen their recruitment costs rise dramatically. Estimates from human resource professionals and consultants indicate that recruiting a new staff member costs between two and four times the annual salary for the position.

When employees are dissatisfied with their work experience, they leave. Organizations see experience and knowledge walk out the door and down the road to their competitors. Consequently, more than ever, employers are recognizing the need to help employees increase their level of satisfaction-not just at work but in life. Prospective employees are looking for companies that respect their commitments both inside and outside the workplace.


A 1999 study by Health Canada reported that 40 percent of working Canadians say they experience high levels of work-family conflict. This conflict is particularly acute for women, but it is becoming more of a concern for men, with 49 percent reporting some kind of work-family stress.

In a workplace that focuses on hours worked, bodies in seats and "face time" (being able to monitor employees while they work), productivity is often confused with working long hours. This creates a barrier for employees looking for flexibility in how they work, since long working hours are not compatible with employee health, personal and workplace well-being, or work-life balance.

When building a business case for work-life balance, the main factors to consider are costs and stakeholder impact. Absenteeism, recruitment and retention issues, and low productivity all impact an organization's bottom line. Customer/client commitment is based on a positive experience with representatives of the organization they interact with. Employees who report that they have achieved work-life balance are more satisfied and more willing to go the extra mile for their clients and their employers.

How HabitShift™ can help

Corporate programs and policies help employees to better maintain a healthy work/life balance. HabitShift™ supplements and leverages these efforts. Consider all the possible benefits from your employees'HabitShift™ experience:

  • Reduced stress
  • Reduced absenteeism
  • Improved employee health and well-being
  • Reduced numbers of short-term disability claims
  • Increased employee commitment, satisfaction and resiliency
  • More effective workload management
  • Reduced interruptions and distractions in the workday
  • Increased capacity to meet work targets and make customer needs a top priority

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