Yunior Betancourt, left, and Chris Patullo putt golf balls during a break from work at Ultimate Software in Weston. (Ultimate Software/Courtesy)
By Marcia Heroux Pounds, Sun Sentinel
More than 80 percent of South Florida professionals rate their work-life balance as either “excellent” or “good,” according to a new nationwide survey released by staffing firm Robert Half International.
South Florida was one of the regions that ranked best for work-life balance, according to the survey. Employees in Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco also gave high marks for maintaining a healthy ratio of play to work.
The survey, conducted by independent research firms for Menlo Park, Calif.-based Robert Half, had responses from more than 2,800 workers in 28 U.S. markets and more than 5,500 business leaders from a variety of professional fields.
Higher productivity and increased loyalty are linked with a happy work force, according to Robert Half, which in 2016 interviewed more than 12,000 professional workers on the subject.
“In South Florida, we have a community surrounded by interesting and fun things to do,” said Randy McDermott, South Florida metro market manager for Robert Half. “Employers coming out of downturn realized it’s a little bit of a competitive weapon to provide work-life balance.”
He said job candidates are asking employers about their work-life balance before they take a job. Before the economy improved, “it was everyone hunker down and keep your job, work as many as hours as possible. Now they have options,” McDermott said.
As a result, he sees employers offering varying work hours so employees can avoid bad traffic or drive a child to school; the ability to work more often from home; and job-sharing when desired.
One work force-savvy company in South Florida is Weston-based Ultimate Software, as evidenced by Fortune magazine naming it the top technology workplace in the country in 2018, for the third year in a row.
Ultimate’s many worker benefits “create the opportunity for our employees to have excellent work-life balance,” according to spokeswoman Heather Geronemus. For example, Ultimate pays 100 percent of the premium on health insurance, paid maternity, paternity and adoptive leave, helps employees save with a 40 percent match to 401k retirement fund contributions, and unlimited personal time off.
At Ultimate’s headquarters, there also are opportunities during the work day to relax, including a putting green, basketball court and massage room.
Perhaps Robert Half’s survey respondents got the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance’s message that the Fort Lauderdale area is a place to “live, work and play,” a campaign it launched three years ago.
Bob Swindell, president and CEO of the Alliance, said the “live, work and play” campaign was two-pronged: “to attract talent, but the bigger motivation was to retain talent” in the greater Fort Lauderdale area.
So which areas are worse for work-life balance? According to the survey, professionals in Nashville, Denver, Atlanta, Cincinnati, San Diego and Raleigh reported the most dissatisfaction in their work-life balance.