Jessi Ryan | Vice President, Business Consulting |


In this study, we tasked ChatGPT with forecasting the five most critical factors driving employee benefits in the next decade. So far, we have explored mental health, financial wellness, and telemedicine. In the following section, we delve into the growing importance of work-life balance for employees.

Over the past few years, the workforce has experienced a significant shift with the entry of millennials and Gen Zers, bringing in new perspectives and priorities. One crucial aspect that has emerged as a top priority for these generations is work-life balance. Unlike their predecessors, millennials and Gen Zers seek a more harmonious and flexible approach to their professional and personal lives, emphasizing the need to strike a healthy equilibrium between the two.

To deliver the benefits that matter to employees, employers must pay attention to this trend and adjust their practices to attract, retain, and support their workforce.

Understanding the Priorities of Millennials and Gen Zers:

The first step is to understand the priorities of millennials and Gen Zers. These generations have been raised in a time characterized by remarkable technological progress and unmatched connectivity. This digital age has enabled them to be constantly connected to their work, making it difficult to draw boundaries between professional and personal life. Consequently, the traditional 9-to-5 work model no longer resonates with them. They prioritize the freedom to structure their work around their lives rather than the other way around.

Additionally, millennials and Gen Zers have witnessed the impact of work-related stress on their parents’ or older colleagues’ lives. This has influenced their outlook on careers, driving them to seek greater work-life balance to avoid falling into the same traps of overwork and burnout. As they enter the workforce with these values firmly in place, they actively seek employers who can offer a supportive and flexible work environment.

The Prevalence of Chronic Conditions in the Workplace:

A significant factor amplifying the importance of work-life balance is the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions in the workplace. Stress-related illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, and cardiovascular problems, have become all too common, affecting both physical and mental health. These chronic conditions not only harm employees’ well-being but also have substantial repercussions on businesses, leading to decreased productivity, increased absenteeism, and higher healthcare costs.

Workplace stress is often a significant contributing factor to the development of chronic conditions. Long working hours, unrealistic expectations, and a lack of work-life balance can all contribute to an employee’s deteriorating health. Acknowledging the link between work-related stress and chronic conditions is essential for employers to understand the critical role they play in their employees’ overall well-being.

Solutions for Employers:

To respond effectively to this new trend and address the significance of work-life balance in their employees’ lives, employers should consider implementing the following strategies:

Flexible Work Arrangements.

Embrace flexible work arrangements, such as remote work options or flextime, to empower employees to balance their personal responsibilities with work commitments. Trust employees to manage their time effectively while meeting deadlines and deliverables.

Focus on Output and Results.

Shift the focus from monitoring hours worked to evaluating employee output and results. This outcome-based approach fosters a results-driven culture and allows employees to manage their time efficiently while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.

Wellness Programs.

Implement comprehensive wellness programs that address both physical and mental health. Encourage employees to participate in stress-reduction activities, mindfulness programs, and provide access to counseling services.

Clear Communication.

Encourage open and transparent communication within the organization. Ensure employees feel comfortable discussing their work-life balance needs without fear of negative consequences.

Lead by Example.

Promote work-life balance from the top down by demonstrating it at the executive level. When leaders prioritize their own well-being and advocate for work-life balance, it sets a positive example for the rest of the organization.

Regular Surveys and Feedback.

Conduct regular surveys to gauge employee satisfaction and gather feedback on work-life balance initiatives. Use this data to make informed decisions and continuously improve the work environment. 

Unawareness Among Employers:

Despite the increasing prominence of work-life balance in the minds of employees, many employers remain unaware of the significance their workforce places on this aspect. Some employers may still adhere to traditional work models and expect their employees to prioritize work over personal life. This misalignment of values can lead to dissatisfaction, high turnover rates, and a disengaged workforce.

IMA’s Voice of the Employee (VOE) is a valuable resource for clients seeking to understand their employees’ benefit preferences. VOE offers clients insights from their own workforce to shape benefits strategy through surveys, delivering actionable data to assist companies in making challenging HR decisions. The initiative uncovers potential hardships that employees might be facing, which are often unknown to department heads, fostering a sense of being listened to and appreciated.


As a trusted advisor to our clients, IMA strives to provide actionable data, enabling HR and leadership to make informed decisions about benefit offerings and enhance the overall employee experience. The VOE tool employs sophisticated survey and analytics technology to gather meaningful feedback from the company’s workforce on the benefits they use. IMA Benefits identifies crucial employee preferences, empowering organizations to optimize their offerings accordingly. Among the key findings is the importance of work-life balance and flexibility.

As millennials and Gen Zers continue to dominate the workforce, work-life balance has become a top priority for employees across industries. The prevalence of chronic conditions in the workplace makes prioritizing work-life balance more critical than ever. Employers must recognize the importance of aligning their practices with the values of their workforce to attract and retain talent, improve productivity, and cultivate a healthier, more engaged work environment. By adopting flexible policies, focusing on employee well-being, and promoting open communication, employers can adapt to this new trend and foster a thriving, balanced workforce.