A Twitter poll shared by @mil_Leader on Sept. 22 asked soldiers on the platform whether the Army promotes a healthy balance of work and life.
Does the Army promote a healthy work-life climate? (aka, work-life balance)[After you vote, please comment on good techniques you’ve seen that improve the @USArmy work-life climate.]
— The Military Leader (@mil_LEADER) September 22, 2020
Though the survey will run through the end of the week, as it currently stands, the answer overwhelmingly is “no.”
At the time of this writing, 538 votes were cast, and more than 66 percent of respondents don’t feel that the Army has balance, while 26 percent believe the service is trying but failing to promote a healthy climate. Only around 8 percent responded positively.
Some cite toxic command climate, while others blame work culture.
“Leading by example,” @HuntDarkMatter wrote. “The command teams making it a priority and leading by example while also teaching subordinates how they can still be successful and have the right work balance, mentoring how to complete taskings by priority. Not everything is a priority.”
Popular miltwitter user @LethalityJane wrote after a bad experience: “I had a boss who texted me after I was admitted to the hospital to get labor induced to give birth to my twins. He wanted to know if I could knock out my GAT real quick before things got too far along.”
Another user called out the leadership system as a whole.
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Leaders are to scared of reprisal to stand up for subordinates. They want to try until there is to much push back of get it done.
As an organization and leaders if we focused more on the person and truly caring instead of checking the block it would benefit us significantly.
— Brandon Linderman (@Linderman907) September 22, 2020
But some do believe the Army’s tempo is fair.
“I’m one of the 8% (currently) that says yes,” wrote user @BradBardo. “Balance is not always perfect but understand that certain times are going to be more stressful through predictability is extremely important.”
Another user suggested that paid time off is adequate as well.
Army gives ya 30 days PTO per year and usually at least 1x 3 day/4 day per month.
Probably comes out to about 48 days PTO per year. Lot of days to take advantage of.
That’s a pretty damn good benefit that I never appreciated until I transitioned from AC to civilian/ARNG.
— AVS (@AVSIllini) September 22, 2020
In a reply, a respondent noted that it’s not the lack of PTO but rather soldiers’ comfort level in actually using leave days.
“Okay but can you use that PTO freely?” wrote user @agingerssoul. “Do you miss out on family events because you’re working late or on weekends? Or spend a fuckton of time in the field? Are you allowed off during the day to attend important family events such as appointments?”
Another user suggested that the issue seems to be that leadership equates time spent on the clock to high performance.
“We need to stop perpetuating the idea/culture that those who work later, come in on their days off, grind their teams harder,etc get top blocked and that’s the key to success,” @Fal_Neil wrote.
About Sarah Sicard
Sarah Sicard is the Digital Editor of Military Times. She previously served as Army Times Editor. Other work can be found at National Defense Magazine, Task & Purpose, Defense News, Fast Company, Business Insider and AdWeek.