Employers and work-life balance

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Business case - Core elements

The core elements of a work-life strategy

Your work-life strategy should contain some of the following tried and tested components. Adopt the pattern and mix that best matches the make-up of your workforce.

Flexible working patterns
The following working patterns have been tried and tested by employers and proven to work. Introduce the options that best suit your type of business and staff:

  • Flexitime - variable start and finish times

  • Compressed work week - working full-time hours in 4 days

  • Part-time working - working less than full-time contractual hours

  • Job sharing - where two people split one job

  • Annualised hours - allows flexible working patterns throughout the year

  • Teleworking or home working - working remotely or from home

  • Term-time working - working only during school terms

Personal work-life balance

Individual development plans and appraisals allow companies to review work-life balance on a regular basis, to plan ahead for busy periods and make adjustments before problems arise:

  • Individual development plans and regular appraisals

  • Coaching or mentoring - can be done by colleagues or by external providers

  • An ‘open door’ approach to problems - common in SMEs; establish good guidelines so that business and personal needs can be met

Leave options

In addition to statutory minimum requirements relating to holiday leave, parental leave, time off for dependants and maternity leave, you can opt for:

  • Enhanced leave, such as:

    • Paid paternity leave

    • Additional forms of leave, such as:

      • Career breaks for carers

      • Study leave

      • Additional holiday leave in lieu of pay or other employee benefits

Carer support
In addition to flexible working patterns and additional leave, you can help employees with caring responsibilities in the following ways:

  • Information on local care providers

  • Sponsorship of local day care centres

  • Loans or allowances to help pay for eldercare

  • Childcare vouchers

To find out more about all work-life options and provisions, see our jargon buster.

Where to next?
Develop work-life policies that are right for your business
Why work-life balance? The business benefits
Latest legislation


© Work-Life balance part of The Work Foundation 2005