What Are Work-Life Services?

Lainie Petersen

Work-life services are a benefit program offered by both public and private employers to their workers. Often integrated with an employee assistance program, work-life services typically assess a worker's need for balance between career and personal obligations. Each work-life balance program may differ according to the policies of both individual employers as well as the vendor providing the services, but may include counseling, financial planning services, and support for making healthy lifestyle changes. Other services may include assistance in finding schools, child care and pet care, as well as various perks, such as discounted tickets to area attractions and entertainment venues. Many employers choose to offer these services because they realize that employees who maintain a good work-life balance are likely to be more productive workers.

Work-life services might give suggestions on how to better connect with friends.
Work-life services might give suggestions on how to better connect with friends.

Mid- to large-size organizations and businesses are often concerned about effectively managing their workforce. In addition to developing policies regarding employee conduct, hiring, and advancement, these companies often want to ensure that employees have appropriate support outside of work so as to prevent personal and lifestyle issues from interfering with an employee's work habits and performance. In many cases, work-life services are provided through a third-party vendor that specializes in providing human resources support.

Work-life services can support employees who want to make healthy lifestyle changes.
Work-life services can support employees who want to make healthy lifestyle changes.

Many organizational psychologists and human resources professionals recognize the importance of a healthy work-life balance. They also recognize that some employees may have difficulty achieving this balance on their own. While employee assistance programs typically offer assessment and referral services to employees who are experiencing severe personal or work-related crises, they may not always address everyday lifestyle balance issues. The goal of many work-life services programs is to encourage employees to integrate their professional obligations into a life that also includes healthy relationships, finances, and recreation. For this reason, work-life services provide employees with a number of resources, including proprietary websites that provide online assessments and access to educational material, concierge services, and even referrals to various types of recreational and personal service vendors.

Issues balancing work and life may create issues in the workplace as well as at home.
Issues balancing work and life may create issues in the workplace as well as at home.

Employees can typically access work-life services through a website portal or a toll-free number provided by their employer. In many cases, an employee is assured of confidentiality when making requests for services. If the vendor that provides work-life resources is the same vendor that provides an organization's employee assistance program, its agents may refer employees who are coping with more serious issues to the employee assistance program for targeted and professional intervention.

Work-life balance programs may offer counseling services.
Work-life balance programs may offer counseling services.

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