Labour & European Law Review Weekly Issue 230 11 August 2011
A report published last week has found that the work-life balance of many workers in the UK has deteriorated as a consequence of the recession.
The Balancing Act report, commissioned by the Cornwall Development Company, examined the views of 3,000 workers from across the UK. One-in-three (35%) said they were spending more time at work and less time at home since the start of the downturn.
A third of people (29%) questioned in the study blamed additional responsibilities; while around a fifth (21%) cited understaffing; and a similar number (18%) held the rising cost of living responsible for longer hours. One-in-five (19%) said they were scared of losing their job.
On average staff work 30 days a year of unpaid overtime, with family and friends bearing the brunt of workers’ poor work-life balance. One in ten even said their sex life had suffered.
Those working in larger businesses, with over 250 employees, are the most likely to support the effects of a good work-life balance on their firm’s bottom line, with almost nine-out-of-ten (86%) believing it has a positive effect on productivity.
The report also highlights the steps bosses can take to improve the work-life balance of their employees. A third of people (28%) believe flexible working hours would most improve their work-life balance. More support from colleagues and an improved working environment were also cited as steps bosses could take.
External factors also have a role to play, with 40 per cent of people looking towards a lower cost of living for a better work-life balance. Two-thirds of people (63%) would change their job to achieve a better work-life balance, and a similar number (59%) would move somewhere else, reinforcing the value they put on a good work-life balance.