Work-life balance key to staffing

by 14 Oct 2008

Work-life balance is the key factor in attracting and retaining staff and is even more important than salary, according to recent research.

With unemployment in Australia at record lows and skills shortages creating a war for talent, employees are demanding the implementation of successful work-life balance strategies from their employers.

Australians have the dubious honour of working the longest hours of any OECD country, with 20 to 25 per cent working more than 50 hours each week. Yet recent Converge International research shows that 47 per cent of workers rate work-life balance as very important and another 32 per cent see it as important.

An imbalance between work and life can result in declining quality of life, loss of community, erosion of relationships and resentment, according to Converge International CEO Dr Lindsay McMillan.

“If workplaces are to avoid harvesting this kind of negative atmosphere, then they really need to take serious consideration of these trends and begin concerning themselves with negotiating and transforming the current pattern of ‘work-life collision’ into one of work-life balance,” said McMillan.

He lists the five key aspects of work-life balance as: wellbeing; satisfaction; workload; security; and relationships. The hard part, he said, is striking the right balance between these aspects. Everyone’s situation is different, so every employee’s idea of work-life balance will also be different and there was no “one-size fits all”solution, he said.

Speaking ahead of his address at The Safety Conference in Sydney on 29 October, he said it was not enough to just spend the time and effort required to research an appropriate work-life balance strategy.

For this reason, senior leaders in a business need to lead by example and champion the cause, he said. This would show all employees that they can switch over to work-life balance initiatives without risking their career progression.