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1 January 2024 - 5 minutes

Tech Perks Beyond Pay: Evaluating Work-Life Balance

Learn what constitutes a positive work-life balance–and where to find it.

Juliette Erath - Tech Writer

Careers

By this point in time, we’re sure you’re aware that your overall happiness doesn’t depend on just your job; it depends on lots of factors: how much time you can spend with your family, the cost of living in your city, the amount of disposable income you have, how much you like your job, the environment at work, and much more. And while tech jobs were known for a while as simply being high paying, the pandemic made lots of people step back and realize what’s truly important: a healthy work-life balance

Achieving said healthy work-life balance is easier said than done, however, and achieving it isn’t for the faint of heart. In fact, we’d even say that it’s a challenge, especially in fields where high salaries can seem like the end all be all. At Ironhack, however, we know that one of the best benefits of the tech industry is this incredible work-life balance and that a good number of tech roles do promise such an advantage. 

But how can you tell before accepting a job offer? Is it clear if a company offers a healthy work-life balance or will you have to jump right in to find out? Of course, you can’t predict the future, but there are some giveaways that can help you correctly predict the kind of experience you’ll have with a company and see if you’ll be able to have this seemingly mysterious work-life balance. 

What is Work-Life Balance?

As everyone’s life is quite different, the exact definition of what work-life balance is will vary considerably from person to person; generally speaking, however, it’s the ability to have a good balance of your work responsibilities and personal ones, meaning you’re able to take on both without having to give anything up. 

For example, an employee that’s able to leave early to take care of a sick child or not be expected to work at nights/on the weekends when they’re with family does have a good work-life balance; on the contrary, employees who always stay late or are always on call aren’t able to enjoy their lives outside of work and cannot say the same.

Having a healthy work-life balance is crucial because:

  • Overworking affects our physical and mental health: stress and anxiety don’t just have a negative mental effect on us, they also affect our physical health with issues such as heart problems or being more susceptible to common colds and flus. 

  • Employees with a healthy work-life balance perform better: happy employees are ones that are willing to go the extra mile and studies show that employees who have a solid work-life balance are more productive. 

  • A good work-life balance leads to more focused employees: if your team is stressed about what’s going on at home and what they’re missing out on or have to stay up late to finish, they won’t be productive and focused at work. 

How Can You Evaluate a Company’s Work-Life Balance?

All of this is great information–but how can you really tell if a company has a positive work-life balance during the interview stages? It’s not super easy, but try these tips to see what you can find out and see if any red flags appear: 

  • Talk to current employees about their work-life balance: you’ll probably meet a range of employees during the interview process and maybe you even know someone who already works at the company–ask them about their typical working hours, if they’re called in outside of hours, expected to work weekends, or have a flexible working arrangement. Hearing the information directly from the horse’s mouth can help you get an accurate picture of what to expect if you start working at this company. 

  • Use your interviews to gather information: nowadays most interviews are online, but if you get the chance to visit the office, take note of the energy and vibe of the office: do people seem stressed and overworked? Are people happy and seem like they get along? These are great ways to imagine what it would be like to work there.

  • Research the company and employees online: lots of websites exist, like GlassDoor, to let employees leave reviews about their experiences at a company; selection bias does occur here, so keep an open mind, but it’s another great way to see what working for the company is actually like.

  • Ask questions: if you’re worried about asking too many questions, don’t be! You want a job where your personal life is valued and ensuring you are choosing a company that prioritizes work-life balance is key. Ask about the company’s vacation policies, work from home arrangements, and sick days–these are all great ways to determine a bit more about their attitude. 

Signs of a positive work-life balance 

All that said, let’s cover some of the signs of a positive work-life balance in the hopes that you recognize some at your current workplace–and if you don’t, you know what to look for in the future. 

  • Supervisors who encourage time off: some companies look down upon workers taking vacation days or calling in sick, which creates a pretty bad working environment for all. On the other hand, if you’re encouraged to take time off when needed or simply to recharge, that’s a fantastic indication of a great work-life balance. 

  • Benefits that go beyond work-related events: free lunch every month or a ping pong table in the break room are cool, but your benefits should be for you to take advantage of outside of the office, not when you’re on the clock. Discounted tickets to events in your city or even a great healthcare plan are signs that your work-life balance is a priority to your employer. 

  • Respected working hours: in the days of everyone having Slack or Teams on their phone, it can be easy to expect someone to respond to your message at any time of day. However, it’s best to encourage employees to delete these apps off their private devices and only respond to messages during working hours. 

Thanks to growing flexibility when it comes to remote/in-person work and great benefits, the tech sector is known for its positive work-life balance which boasts a great salary and benefits that help the employee enjoy their life further outside of the office. 

If you’re interested in starting your career in tech to take advantage of all the benefits this career path has to offer, you’re in the right place: our bootcamps in web development, UX/UI design, data analytics, and cybersecurity are carefully designed to ensure you learn everything you need to know to reach success in the tech industry and land your dream job. 

Ready to take your first step towards tech? 

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