Employees want Work-Life policies put on the agenda

Going into its second year, Employers for Work-Life Balance continues to see a huge appetite for information on work-life policies. British businesses aren’t the only parties interested in the work-life balance debate, employees are increasingly demanding flexible working, as results from a recent survey show.

In the survey, commissioned by Lloyds TSB on behalf of the Employers for Work-Life Balance, seven out of 10 respondents acknowledged that they would be more motivated if their employer offered flexible working. This was particularly important to the 18-24 age group, where just over 80 per cent agreed that they would be more motivated at work if they had access to work-life balance schemes. Additionally, graduates cite work-life balance as a key influence on future decisions about whether they would, or would not, stay with their current employer. 1

It is not only employees’ motivation that can be improved by work-life polices, but staff retention levels too. Considering that it can cost up to £40,000 to replace a senior manager, it would be prudent for businesses to implement necessary safeguard polices. In fact, survey results show that 50 per cent of managers would not hesitate to change jobs in exchange for a better quality of life. 2

Even the youngest age group, ages 18-24, have put the work-life balance debate on their agenda. 93 per cent admitted that they would stay if their employer was flexible enough to allow them to pursue their life outside work to the full. Additionally, around three-quarters of men said they would be more motivated to stay with their current employer if they had work-life policies, in order to pursue their outside interests in conjunction with their working life.

Peter Ellwood, Chairman of Employers for Work-Life Balance and Group Chief Executive, Lloyds TSB Group, said: "The results from the survey show that work-life balance is as important to employees as it is to businesses. People have increasing demands on their time, whether they have caring responsibilities or are pursuing other interests in sports or study. If businesses want to remain employers of choice they need to recognise the impact of work-life policies, which deliver benefits for both employers and employees.

"Work-life balance is not simply about women with children, but something that everyone can embrace, irrespective of age or gender. Interestingly work-life balance is becoming of increasing importance to younger employees. Businesses need to bear this in mind as today’s young people will be tomorrow’s managers," Peter Ellwood added.

Employers clearly have a some way to go. At least six out of 10 survey respondents said that their own employers do not offer work-life balance policies. Regional differences are apparent, with 65 per cent of Northerners reporting that their employer does not offer work-life balance policies, with this figure falling to 56 per cent in the South.

Discussion on work-life balance will continue over a two-day Work-Life International Summit, (8-9 March) which has been organised by the Employers for Work-Life Balance in partnership with the Government [Department for Education and Employment]. The summit will bring together major players in the work-life forum, across business, government and academia across the UK and abroad.

Margaret Hodge, Education and Employment Minister, said: "We are delighted to be able to work together with Employers for Work-Life Balance to encourage a step change in working practices. Work life balance means a win-win for everybody: a win for employers because they attract more people, keep their good people, cut sickness levels and enhance commitment and productivity; and a win for employees who can find a balance between work and life which meets both their needs and their aspirations."

 

1 Sturges & Guest 1999. Should I stay or Should I Go? London: Association of Graduate Recruiters, 1999.

2 Ceridian Performance Partners/ Management Today (2000). Time to Choose, London.

 

For further information:
Lisa Kramer/ Emma Slater
Press Office
Employers for Work-Life Balance
0207 356 2445/ 2098

 

 

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