Look what we discovered this week: More than half of Australians feel they are missing out on quality family time and sacrificing their social lives as a result of work commitments.
We are not talking about business owners here; this is about employees. We hear a lot about companies that are committed to work-life balance. All the employer-of-choice awards have just been named. But I was curious to know whether there is really a trend towards a greater leisure time or a handful of employers who are committed to work-life balance for their people.
An email survey to investigate the causes of work-life imbalance in Australia and explore possible solutions, attracted 3675 responses, 83% of them from females. Was the high skew towards women because they are the ones that really wanted to have a say on the matter?
Thirty-eight percent of respondents rate excessive workload as the main contributor to work-life imbalance, followed by workplace culture (22%), the desire to meet pressing deadlines (12%), management expectations (11%) and habit (9%).
It is a worrying trend when you consider that close to a quarter of those surveyed logs on to work email after-hours every day, and that more than a third work on a Saturday or Sunday at least once a fortnight. This is a considerable workload that eats into personal time; 62% log in during their personal time.
We know that putting in the “hard yards” is considered part and parcel of having a successful career, but this is often to the detriment of our personal lives and goals, particularly for women, who often have the bulk of family responsibility on their shoulders.
This doesn’t mean we should all quit our jobs and pursue a more carefree existence. In fact, I was interested to see that only 5% of respondents listed decreasing workloads as a solution to the problem.
Among the top solutions listed to improve workplace conditions were providing more flexible working conditions (28%) and hiring more staff (27%). Others included actively promoting a healthy lifestyle in the workplace (21%) and providing reward and recognition schemes to recognise over time (13%).
We have noticed a real melding between what was the work week and the weekend; the distinction is becoming more blurred. It is a challenge for employers to make the work week as interesting as the weekend.
We have always been a company committed to working life balance. (After all, that is why I started the business.)
We entered a RedBalloon team into the Bridge to Beach race a few weeks ago. We had training activities and everyone got into it. We have a series of team events coming up where we will also get the team involved in raising money for our charities of choice.
One that we have on the calendar is the Foxtel Lap fundraiser for Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. September 14 is not far away; our 20-strong team are already pounding the pavements.