Companies boosted by work/life imbalances

Link: Government funds work-life balance initiative

With today heralding the start of Work Life Balance week, the report from market research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres’ may interest staff feeling frazzled by their work load.

The report said that while workers may now be jetting off on much-needed holidays, many may have already paid back their holiday entitlements in extra, unpaid hours.

Nearly three quarters of the 430 respondents admitted to not taking their full lunch break entitlement. And while two thirds of employees work an extra hour or more per day, 13 per cent of employees put in four hours or more a day outside their core business hours.

Four extra hours equates to over £12,000 ‘free labour’ per employee each year, based on the average gross hourly rate from the Office of National Statistics.

WRQ, the software company that commissioned the survey, says inefficient technologies should shoulder some of the blame for the long hours culture.

But cultural issues and job security fears may also be hampering attempts to establish a successful balance between work and home life.

John Eary, head of the NCC Skills Source Consultancy said despite the findings, the work life balance message was getting through to both employers and employees.

‘In particular, home-based working is something that a lot of people want the option of having.

‘But there are issues ranging from how you manage people if you can’t see them to some of the security risks of people using their computers from home.’

He added: ‘Clever organisations are saying if we have people working from home there are cost savings to be had. And our evidence is that people are as, if not more, productive – you’re getting more for your money.’

Currently about 7% of the UK workforce work at home at least one day a week, according to NCC figures. But Eary conceded that the focus has switched from work life balance to flexibility of work.

‘It works both ways – employers are expecting flexibility from staff too. Increasingly it’s a case of if we let you be more flexible in the way you work, we also expect you to put extra hours in when required.’

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