Slack Survey: Utah Businesses Lead the Way For Work-Life Balance

Utah is consistently ranked amongst the healthiest US states, and a big contributing factor to this is how Salt Lake City is leading the way when it comes to juggling personal and professional life, according to new research.

Slack recently commissioned a survey of Salt Lake workers to find out about the city’s attitudes and behaviors around work and the workplace. Overwhelmingly, local employees said they are remarkably content with their work-life balance – something which is great to see in contrast to the backdrop of today’s often over-worked and “always-on” obsessed workforce.

In fact, a staggering 90 percent of Salt Lakers told us that they have a “well-balanced” or “somewhat balanced” life, with only 2 percent saying it was “very unbalanced.” Nearly half (44 percent) of Salt Lake citizens report a “well-balanced” state of being, which is 7 percent higher than respondents living in other cities across the United States. So what exactly is Salt Lake’s secret, and how can businesses uphold and sustain the city’s reputation for this enviable state of wellbeing?

Trust and autonomy

While cutting down on the number of hours employees physically work may seem like an obvious route to creating a healthy work-life balance, a more sustainable approach is to foster an overarching sense of trust and autonomy. This culture-driven strategy can take time and patience to implement, but it is one that has paid dividends for Salt Lake based software company Lucid. The “more impactful” route, says Karl Sun, CEO and co-founder of Lucid, is to trust teams to “get the job done and to do a good job in a time and manner that works for them.” In the end, says Sun, this “helps individuals come into the office with a fresh outlook and the comfort that if today isn’t their best day, work can wait and doesn’t need to invade their life. That’s true work-life balance”.

For Sun, whether it’s doctor’s appointments, family events, long lunches, vacations or personal days, his vision is for his teams to integrate their professional and personal lives in a way that best suits them, without the heavy-handed supervision of a clock-watching manager or executive.

Work hard and go home

Salt Lake lives and breathes this mantra, as evidenced by the fact that for the majority of Salt Lakers, work stops when they punch out. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) said they either ‘rarely’ or ‘never’ felt pressure to be available to coworkers or clients outside of business hours, compared to 68 percent nationally. To ensure peak productivity during working hours, the majority (59 percent) of Salt Lakers recommend taking short breaks, often outside and away from their desks, to improve efficiency. Meanwhile, over a third (36 percent) said they retire to a quiet spot in the office, away from their coworkers, when they need to take performance up a notch.

Safeguarding your time away from the office is to be applauded. At Slack, we believe in employees unplugging and enjoying time outside of work without worrying about what they’re missing when they’re away, and this is a philosophy that certainly rings true in Salt Lake City. So much so, that Salt Lakers would even put their money where their mouth is. If push came to shove, 57 percent of Salt Lakers would consider taking a pay cut to improve their work-life balance and 10 percent know outright that they would accept a pay cut for the change. Salt Lakers clearly value time and family life over cash, and it’s this prioritization that defines Utah lifestyles and makes folks so content with work-life balance.

Taking advantage of technology

Harnessing technology can help facilitate work-life balance too. Overwhelmingly, 80 percent of Salt Lake City knowledge workers agree or strongly agree that technology, software and apps can help them achieve a better work-life balance – nine percent higher than the national average. This mindset comes from the top, too, with 87 percent of Salt Lake’s senior managers in agreement.

Specifically, the technologies that Salt Lake cites as most helpful are those that enable greater flexibility regardless of location. A quarter (25 percent) are using modern technology and apps like Slack, the digital workplace, or video conferencing solutions, like Zoom, to work better with coworkers.

For Chatbooks, the automatic photo book company headquartered in Provo, the 150 person team relies on 100 remote workers, so technology is imperative to help the team stay connected and balance home and career no matter where (or when) they work. Many of that team are busy parents who choose their own hours, so being able to easily get up to date on project status, regardless of time of day, is imperative. And regardless of what hours they work, for team members who work remotely and part time from their homes, Slack is the thread that binds them to employees in Provo. And since a company ski pass always available, mobility comes in handy.

There’s never been a better time to live and work in Salt Lake City – in large part because it’s a true beacon of work-life balance. With that extra autonomy and flexibility, employees are being trusted to get work done, and done well, with that chairlift to the slopes always in reach for any well-deserved downtime.