By Daniel Hunter

Business owners are the happiest of the nation’s workforce, closely followed by their staff, according to the annual Work Life Balance report published by global workplace provider Regus.

The report, based on a business poll of 26 000 professionals across the globe, reveals a worldwide dip in wellbeing over the last year but the UK bucks this trend, up 5 points on the Work Life Balance Index from 104 to 109. UK workers are shown to be more content than their French and German counterparts (100 and 101 respectively) but less so than Americans (117).

The satisfaction gap between the UK’s younger and older workforce is one of the most pronounced in the world. Generations X and Y (born after 1964) report that they enjoy work a third more than Baby Boomers and also believe they achieve more than in previous years (77% compared to 63%.)

“Employers must recognise the importance of work-life balance not only for their own health and that of their staff but for the company as a whole," John Spencer, UK CEO of Regus commented.

"Happy workers are both more productive and less likely to leave. As the jobs market improves, companies that actively promote work life balance will be more successful in retaining their talent.”

Previous research from Regus has showed that 74% of office workers believe flexible working makes them more productive and helps them redress their work-life balance.

“Flexible working policies play a vital role in improving work life balance, such as offering staff a choice in where and when they work,” says John. “Many innovative employers and entrepreneurs are already doing this — we see our network of business centres used every day by people working flexibly, closer to home. The value that the younger generation in particular place on flexible working should not be underestimated.”

Stuart McGivern, Co-owner of Gateshead-based Key Performance Innovations Ltd, believes his work-life balance improved significantly since setting up his own company in January 2012.

“Whether you enjoy your work or not affects your whole life. I work more hours than when I was an employee but I enjoy it more. I have the freedom to choose what projects I take on and I appreciate the variety this gives me," he said.

Working flexibly is crucial to keeping healthy and productive, according to Stuart.

“When you work for yourself the boundaries between your personal and professional life can begin to blur. I’ve avoided working from home too much for this reason.”

He uses Regus centres in Gateshead and Sunderland as well as his clients’ premises. “I drop into the Regus business lounges when I need somewhere productive to work between client sites. It’s like having my own office on my doorstep — but importantly it’s not my doorstep!”

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