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Balancing act

Posted 30/07/2013 by cgodfrey

Baby boomers have been getting something of a bad press recently – for not having to pay student fees for our degrees, for being able to buy our own homes, for using up the planet’s resources, the list goes on. But one aspect of our lives that we aren’t actually being criticised about is our work:life balance. It’s just that we aren’t getting it right, unlike Generations X & Y – born between 1966 and 1976, and 1977 and 1994, respectively

According to a recent survey by the provider of flexible workplaces, Regus, baby boomers are suffering with health issues and the needs of ageing parents, while the younger generations believe they are achieving more at work. And this is not just a UK phenomenon. Regus has talked to over 26,000 professionals in more than 90 countries to chart their views on how they are balancing the various elements of their professional and home lives.

Rather surprisingly, the survey contradicts the image of the workaholic business owner. The results show that people running organisations generally have a much better work:life balance than their employees. One aspect of this is that the more positive feeling experienced by business owners who are seeing market conditions improving and feel that the worst of the downturn is over, is not filtering through to their employees in the same way.

The findings also support the view that stress, which is said to be a key measure of work:life balance and enjoyment of work, rather than being associated with hard work, is more a measure of lack of control. One approach to increase feelings of control is to offer flexible working, which, according to 72% of those surveyed, increases productivity, as well as reducing stress.

There are, however, indications that the trend for improvement in work:life balance is slowing – global workers are still experiencing the same additional workload taken on during the downturn and not yet shared out among new staff.

Some 20% of those surveyed said they spent less time at home with their families than they used to because of work.  However, just under half think that businesses are making continued progress in cutting gruelling commutes, and this is another benefit that accrues from flexible working for both employees and business owners.

But work:life balance is not really a new concept – it has its roots in the question: ‘Do you live to work or work to live?’

Well? What do you think? Please let us know by commenting below.

Neil Eisberg - Editor

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    15/10/2013 08:10

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