Work and life rolled into one

by 18 Mar 2008

SEVENTY PER CENT of workers said they would continue to work in some capacity even if they won the lottery which reinforces the high value employees place on job satisfaction rather than remuneration.

Presenting research on work-life balance at a recent forum, Mark McCrindle of McCrindle Research defined work-life balance from both the employer and employee perspective and outlined the increasingly greater desire among the Australian workforce for more balance between work and life and how this is the number-one retention tool today. He said that people today don’t segment their life into ‘work’ and ‘personal’ categories but rather their different roles often “morph and collide”.

“Contrary to popular opinion, work-life balance is not simply a ‘female issue’, nor is it solely a demand of generation Y or those with caring responsibilities. Though these demographic segments are important to consider, it must be stressed that work-life balance is valued by all,” said Lindsay McMillan, CEO of Converge International who commissioned the research.

More than 80 per cent of employees stated that achieving work-life balance is key to their career, yet 60 per cent of them are dissatisfied with their current situation. Consequently, voluntary turnover is at an all-time high approaching 14 per cent (up from 10 per cent in 2006) and tenure is at a new low with staff averaging four years per employer compared to 12 years in 1960.

The research emphasised that work-life balance does not necessarily mean fewer hours at work, but rather the flexibility of when and where those hours are performed. It was revealed that almost 80 per cent of employees would prefer to work from home if given the option by their employer.

Furthermore, work-life balance was considered much more significant than matters of remuneration as flexibility and job satisfaction were prioritised above financial security, high rate of pay and generous superannuation contributions.

The new research strongly encouraged employers to foster a people-centric workplace culture understanding that employees have multiple roles and that these can impact their working lives. A number of strategies were suggested such as additional types of leave such as paternity and carers leave, education programs for staff, as well as social and extra-curricular activities.


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