Employers and work-life balance

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14 January 2005

Working Families

Does your boss encourage work-life balance? If so nominate them for Best Boss 2005.

  While we all adopt the clichéd New Year’s resolutions of beating the bulge or breaking a habit it seems that career resolutions’ are also high on the agenda. Research from Lloyds TSB and Working Families, which marks the launch of the annual search for Britain’s Best Boss 2005, reveals that the desire to get a better work-life balance wins out over more cash or climbing the ladder.

The top three career New Year’s resolutions:
1. To get a better work-life balance – 67%
2. To ask for a pay review – 22%
3. To go for a promotion – 19%

Two thirds of Brits (67 per cent) made a promise to themselves to strike a better balance between work and home life in 2005, compared with only one in five (22 per cent) who will be gunning for a pay rise. The older generation are particularly keen to balance their lives, with 42 per cent of 45 – 54 year olds resolving to achieve a better work-life balance.

But despite Brits’ desire to ‘get a life’ outside work, over half of those questioned (54 per cent) do not feel they can approach their boss to discuss the possibility of working flexibly. Men feel less comfortable talking to their boss about changing their working pattern than women, with 61 per cent of males compared to 50 per cent of females admitting they would find it difficult to broach the subject.

However, on a positive note, companies do seem to be adopting work-life balance practices. Sixty-three per cent say that their boss gives them the option of working flexible hours, allowing them to have more choice and control over their working lives. Similarly, half of those questioned (49 per cent) said their employer is flexible if family or personal emergencies crop up.

Fiona Cannon, head of equality and diversity at Lloyds TSB, said: "It is refreshing that, as far as career resolutions go, our number one priority is to balance work and play. But it’s rather telling that people don’t feel they can discuss it with their boss. Perhaps one of our career resolutions should be to develop a better relationship with the boss so that we can discuss our true career needs.

Fiona continued: "The annual Lloyds TSB and Working Families Best Boss award celebrates individuals who are great bosses and who encourage and practice work-life balance. If your boss is a great role model for work-life balance, make sure you nominate them before 3 May 2005, and they could be crowned Best Boss 2005."

Sarah Jackson, chief executive of Working Families, said: "We hope that, once again, employees from every size and type of organisation will want to tell the world about their brilliant bosses and the difference they have made to their lives. This competition celebrates the work of unsung heroes everywhere and you and your boss stand a chance of joining other finalists at the House of Lords for the celebratory lunch in June 2005. The UK’s Best Boss will also win £1,000 of travel vouchers."

To get a nomination form for Britain’s Best Boss 2005 Tel 020 7253 7243 or download one from www.workingfamilies.org.uk. The closing date for nominations is 3 May 2005.


  Notes to editors:

  • 1703 people were surveyed by tickbox.net in December 2004

About the competition
Lloyds TSB and Working Families are looking for individuals who have taken practical steps to help their staff balance their work and home lives by encouraging flexible working, being understanding about family emergencies and making sure no one is working long hours. The Best Boss competition was first launched in 2000 to celebrate the unsung local heroes who show other managers how a happy team with balanced lives makes for a ‘win-win’ situation for everyone.

  About Working Families
Working Families, formerly Parents At Work and New Ways to Work, is a campaigning charity which supports and gives a voice to working parents and carers. It also helps employers create workplaces which encourage work-life balance for everyone. In addition to the Best Boss competition, it runs the Employer of the Year Awards, which recognise organisations, rather than individuals, and for which employers nominate themselves. The Working Families Free Legal Helpline (0800 013 0313) can help parents and carers negotiate the flexible hours they want.

For more information:
Amy Davies
Lloyds TSB Press Office
Tel: 020 7356 1714
[email protected]

Maggy Meade-King
Working Families
Tel: 020 8341 0708
[email protected]

© Work-Life balance part of The Work Foundation 2005