Spend enough time in Beacon, and you’ll find recent transplants who came to the “Coolest Small Town in America” for a better quality of life. They’re often leaving New York City for cheaper rents and a more laid-back lifestyle upstate — less time working to pay bills and more time and cash for more varied pursuits.
In a nutshell: They’re moving to find a better work-life balance.
While striking a healthy balance between work and leisure is common in many European countries — we’re looking at you, Denmark — recent changes in the American workforce are giving the concept a fresh perspective. Not the least of these is a shift in workers’ attitudes.
Healthy You, Healthy Economy
That shift is a good sign for the US economy. Last year, the pollsters at Gallup found that one-in-four employees often feel burned out at work, and a greater share feel burned out from time to time. Workplace burnout has been linked to insomnia, hypertension, type-2 diabetes and vulnerability to illness.
These workers are more likely to take a sick day, and a 2015 study reported that workplace stress cost at least $125 billion in health care spending each year — or 5 to 8 percent of the national total.
Balance = Success
Perhaps the most vocal group advocating for a greater balance are millennials (although they’re certainly not alone in this). By one estimate, millennials will occupy 75 percent of the workforce by 2025.
Last year, Inc. magazine took a crack at why millennials are looking for work-life harmony. For many, it’s a leading metric for success — more so than status or material wealth. Others are starting families and want more time with their spouses and children.
Technology is another factor. Millennials are “always on,” the author writes. And “millennials are the first generation to enter the workforce with access to technology that enables them to seamlessly work remotely, which 75 percent of millennials want more opportunities to do,” he writes.
Said simply: They want more control over how and when they work. And employers are taking note by offering more flexible work arrangements and avenues to spend less time at the office.
The coworking movement, of course, has been facilitating this for more than a decade. BEAHIVE, a coworking pioneer in the Hudson Valley, has helped hundreds of independent workers and remote employees alike do their best balanced work from the paradise of upstate New York since 2009.
You could say that BEAHIVE’s creative, warm and welcoming work environment balanced with community programming leads millennials, Gen Xers, and boomers to a kind of work-life nirvana.