Work Life Balance Improving

Research shows workers happier than in 2010

A survey of more than 16,000 professionals in 80 countries has shown that professional life is still a juggling act but that things are getting better.

Some significant findings from the 2012 research show that:

  • Global business satisfaction with the balance between home and work life is improving: the Work-Life Balance Index has increased 24 per cent from base point 100 in 2010 to 124 points in 2012.
  • In 2012, 61 per cent of business people around the world perceive that their work-life balance has improved.
  • Some 74 per cent of workers globally believe they achieve more at work than they used to.
  • 69 per cent of workers feel that they enjoy work more now than they did in 2010.
  • 59 per cent of employees are happy with the amount of time they spend with family or at home.
  • Over two fifths (41 per cent) of global respondents feel that companies are doing more to help reduce the time employees spend commuting than in 2010.
  • 63 per cent of workers globally took on additional duties during the economic downturn that were not subsequently picked up by other colleagues possibly resulting in additional time spent in the office as well as an increase in stress levels.
  • Small companies had a higher work-life balance rating than larger companies (130 points compared to 109) highlighting that the barriers to introducing measures to improve harmony between work and personal life may be administrative rather than psychological.
  • Work-life balance has improved in 2012 compared with 2010 for all size companies, but it has taken a particular leap forwards in small companies where the index has grown 27 points.

Regus UK Managing Director Steve Purdy says the research shows that organisations are wise to invest in policies which enhance an employee’s ability to balance their work and personal commitments as happier employees are more productive and more likely to stay with their company.

“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 economic 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,” he said.

Australian situation

The results for Australia are mostly consistent with the global findings and show that even though Australian employees are working longer hours that they were in 2010 they are enjoying their jobs more and are generally happy with their current work life balance.

Key findings for Australia show that:

  • Australians have a better work life balance than the global average. The Australian Index score is 129 points which is five points above the global average of 124 points.
  • Australians are more productive than workers in the USA, China, UK and France and 77 per cent say they achieve more at work now than they did in 2010, this is compared with the USA at 73 per cent, China at 73 per cent, UK at 69 per cent and France at 65 per cent.
  • 59 per cent of Australian workers claim they are working harder than they were two years ago and admit to taking on additional duties since the global economic crisis.
  • More than 34 per cent of survey respondents said that their employer has introduced policies designed to shorten employee commute times and promote flexible working.

Regus Regional Vice President for South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand, William Willems, says that although Australians are working more they still work fewer hours and enjoy a better work life balance than the OECD average.

“Australians are also more satisfied with the time spent between work and home compared to workers in the US, UK and France, suggesting that Australian firms are acknowledging the need for work-life practices to produce happier and more productive staff.”

“Our research is a significant reminder that if companies can move past the financial downturn business model that is results-oriented but less efficient and adaptable, and instead adopt a more flexible approach to work, they will produce happier and more productive employees – which in turn will help impact the business bottom line.”

“There are many measures businesses are adopting to make employees improve work-life balance including enabling workers to travel out of peak time, to work from locations closer to home, and to work outside the standard 9-5 hours to spend more time with family.” said Mr Willems.

While the findings from Regus show that people generally feel as though their work life balance is improving and that business is benefiting from this in terms of boosted productivity and retention rates, the momentum needs to be maintained in order to drive continued growth in the longer term.

Flexible work practices can make a significant difference to the success of a company though improving an employee’s opportunities to better balance their work and family commitments. Your organisation’s flexible work practices should be in a constant state of review and development to ensure they continue to meet the needs of a complex and ever changing work force.


Regus Blog

Regus Work Life Balance White Paper

1. Regus Work Life Balance Index

This Better Workplace Bulletin was First Published in August 2012