By Daniel Hunter
Workers across the UK declare that the balance between their work and personal life has improved since 2010, according to a new Work-Life Balance Index based on the views of 2500 UK professionals, published by workspace provider Regus.
Despite the average worker putting in longer hours than ever before, the Index shows that 60% of people are enjoying their jobs more, and 58% feel that they have enough time to spend at home or on personal pursuits.
The majority of workers (69%) state that they achieve more at work than in 2010, which points to a connection between a good work-life balance and worker productivity. Over a third (36%) of respondents say that employers have made efforts to shorten staff commute times, acknowledging the strain a lengthy journey to and from work can have.
The Index registered a 20% rise in UK work-life balance between 2010 and 2012. To put this into perspective, the UK Index standing is 104, which remains significantly below the global average of 124.
The improvements in happiness and job satisfaction are clearly linked to the fact that worries about job security have decreased in many sectors since 2010, when the UK had recently experienced market free-fall and the global economic meltdown that ensued. Recent research from Regus confirmed that business confidence in the UK is finally on the rise.
“We know that a good work-life balance is essential for employees to live healthy, happy and productive lives," Dr Clare Kelliher, Professor of Work and Organisation at the Cranfield School of Management commented.
"The results from this report lend weight to the idea that happier staff are also more productive. At a time when all businesses are striving for growth, this serves as a reminder that employers should review their policies and practices to ensure that staff have the flexibility to achieve balance in their lives.”
Steve Purdy, UK Managing Director at Regus comments: “The launch of our new Work-Life balance Index brings the encouraging news that our work-life harmony is improving and confirms ONS results that UK workers are satisfied with their work life. Undoubtedly one of the main reasons for this is that the economic outlook is generally brighter than in 2010 and for many people job insecurity has lessened. The survey also importantly indicates that happier employees are more productive, with a convincing majority of respondents declaring that they are achieving more than in 2010.
“As economic conditions improve and the job market becomes more dynamic, businesses wanting to retain and hire top talent cannot afford to ignore the value that a reputation for enabling a good work-life balance can bring. In addition to this, businesses have become increasingly results-oriented during the downturn and are everywhere seen to be opting for less traditional working practices and instead choosing to increase efficiency by giving workers more flexibility. One such measure that is becoming increasingly popular is helping workers to reduce tiring and unproductive commute time through the introduction of more flexible working practices.
“Whether these measures enable workers to travel out of peak time, to work from locations closer to home or to spend more time with their families there is no doubt that empowering workers to work their way is being acknowledged as an ever more important factor in promoting productivity and well-being.”
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