Work balance – employers hesitant about it

November 20, 2009 | Filed Under management strategic decisions, Work and management |

work_home_life_balanceWORK-LIFE balance is a hot topic. But how far should employers go to help staff to harmonise their work with the other elements of their life?
And however desirable work-life balance sounds, is it something that businesses and their employees can ever achieve?

A changing labour market
One of the reasons why the topic of work-life balance is hitting the headlines is the changing face of the labour market.
The old stereotype of male breadwinners out in the workplace with their womenfolk looking after hearth and home has changed radically.
Women not only make up 46% of the labour market, but are also set to be the source of 80% of its growth over the next six years.

The workforce is ageing – there will be 12m over 65s by 2021 and the Government is floating suggestions that people might continue in employment until age 70.
Women and mature workers are a valuable resource for employers. But firms cannot ignore the fact that women continue to bear the brunt of domestic work and childcare or that many older workers may want to work fewer hours.

Recent developments
Recent legislation, including an extension of maternity and paternity rights and granting parents of children under six the right to request flexible working patterns, has put the work-life balance debate at the top of the agenda.

Employers are slow to understand the issues and what’s at stake
Many, if not most, employers find it difficult to put work-life balance policies into practice.
Some employers mention the difficulty of allowing one person to work flexibly but not others. What about the impact on colleagues’ workloads? And what is a ‘good’ reason for being allowed to work flexibly – only childcare, or should other responsibilities and interests qualify?
Attempting to address the work-life balance can leave managers feeling unsure. Flexible working requires less command and control, more focus on outputs and more trust. It’s not easy.
Smaller businesses often complain that it is something that only big businesses can afford to do. Many see it as a flash in the pan, a topic that will go away if you just draft a policy on it to comply with legislation.
This is understandable. Customers are becoming more demanding. They want longer opening hours and more personal service and their expectations must be met. With these commercial pressures, where does work-life balance fit in?

Why companies should embrace work balance more?
The reason work-life balance is important to employers and employees is that in many businesses, profits depend on adding value, on customer relationships and on knowledge. That means the costs of recruiting, retaining, motivating and rewarding the right people has gone up.
Work-life balance and flexible working helps many companies to hire and keep the best staff. Employees whose lives are in balance are also likely to respond better to customers’ demands than those who are discontented.
Flexible working can mean the difference-between keeping and losing a valuable employee, with all their experience and contacts.
The average cost of labour turnover in 2001 was £3,462, rising to £5,699 for managers. So reducing these costs can bring bottom-line benefits. This is not only true for big organisations.
Research in 2000 found that some small businesses saved up to £250,000 through introducing flexible working policies that reduced staff turnover.
Improving staff motivation and satisfaction through flexible working can have a significant impact on customer service and productivity.
Organisations that have found work-life balance to be the most effective tend to ensure they have their own balance – between the needs of customers and the needs of the organisation, and between costs and resources.
Companies need to maintain this delicate balance or they will find themselves doing the same old thing – working harder, not smarter.

Hello there ! - We offer Corporate office massage in London. We specialise in on-site massage in the office, accupressure massage, seated accupressure, chair massage, head and neck massage and stress management massage. Achieve relaxation in the office with the help of our therapists - Relaxed workplace

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    10 things to do to be happier at work

    November 1, 2009 | Filed Under Life in the office |

    working_togetherHere is a simple list of ten things you should be aware in the workplace. These points are all basic essential work skills to keep your sanity and improve your productivity.

    1. Define success at work
    People often work hard to gain success without knowing what success really means.You may climb a career ladder only to find out that it has been leaning against the wrong wall. We receive differing messages about success – through the media, our families and our culture but ultimately, success comes from leading a fulfilled and balanced life – whatever your pay packet.
    Action: Write down your own definition of success. Programme it into your mobile – as a constant reminder.

    2. Avoid hurry-sickness
    We are working faster than ever before. Yes, speed is important, but it must not override quality of work. You may enjoy living in the fast lane, but you must realise that there are costs, in terms of your health and well-being. Slow down to make quicker progress.
    Action: Take your three most important tasks. Now allocate a realistic amount of time for achieving them. This shouldn’t be just about how fast you can do them – but the time you need to do them well.

    3. Don’t be anxious – be happy
    How much anxiety does it take to solve a problem? None, because anxiety is not a solution for anything. Instead, anxiety is a sign for you to take action. Identify the cause of your anxiety and write down the possible things you could do to counteract it. Decide on the appropriate action, and begin it now.
    Action: Write down the things that are making you anxious. Decide what you can do about each one. If there’s nothing that can be done, drop it. If there is – do it now.

    4. Beware of the activity trap
    It’s easy to become addicted to constant activity, and to let your idea of your own value become related to the number of things you’ve ticked off on your To Do list. Temper your drive with reflection. This gives you a chance to recognise your real achievements.
    Action: Write a list of your recent achievements, and spend a minute appreciating what you’ve done.

    5. Don’t burn out
    Many heart-attack victims can be categorised as “high fliers, fast fallers”. These are people who live in a fantasy zone believing that they have an inexhaustible capacity for doing more. However, this is a high-risk strategy. Signs that things are starting to go wrong include exhaustion, a short fuse, impaired vision, poor productivity, and crisis in confidence. If you seek escape through alcohol, or are avoid coming in to work, it is time to get help.
    Action: Create a health plan. You need to eat well, exercise regularly, rest up and book yourself a massage.

    6. Switch off
    Clearly designate what is work-time and what is family time, what is “time out” (which is just for loafing) and “me time” (for something purely selfish). If you do this, you will probably find you work fewer hours but produce more focused work. When work time is over, learn to stop thinking about it.
    Action: Turn off mobiles, laptops and email when you leave the office each day.

    7. Watch out for “false success”
    It’s all too easy to confuse success with constant adrenaline, endless activity, all work, no rest and no play – and for that, you can pay a high price. The habit of busy-ness eclipses real business. It gives rise to the “start early, finish late” work ethic that confuses constant effort with real effectiveness. Avoid keeping busy out of a sense of habit, duty or guilt.
    Action: Find three things to delegate – and delegate them before the end of the day.

    8. Managing urgency
    When everything seems so urgent that it’s impossible to prioritise, take a moment to stand back. An urgent task is something that requires immediate attention, whereas something important has to do with the big picture – and what matters most. Have the courage to put what’s important first. Action: Make five minutes before the end of the day to prioritise your tasks according to their importance, not their urgency.

    9. Give up struggling
    People who battle with stress and work overload often believe that struggle is an inevitable price for success and happiness. It isn’t. They invite struggle, because they refuse to ask for help, make a change, or try to feel relaxed. Whenever you are struggling, ask yourself how you could do things more easily. Use your imagination to find a better way. Action: Get a role model – find someone who has mastered ease – and ask them how they’ve done it.

    10. Bring back the fun
    Today, you need to be more dynamic, creative and innovative than ever. This is difficult if you haven’t got the capacity for enjoyment. One of the main causes of poor team spirit is everyone waiting for the team spirit to improve. Take the initiative. Be the “cultural architect” that enables fun to flourish.

    Hello there ! - We offer Corporate office massage in London. We specialise in on-site massage in the office, accupressure massage, seated accupressure, chair massage, head and neck massage and stress management massage. Achieve relaxation in the office with the help of our therapists - Relaxed workplace

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