Work-life balance in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire is better than Beds and the UK average, says a new report from flexible workplaces provider Regus.
The Work-Life Balance Index shows an improvement in the balance between work and personal life in Bedfordshire over the last two years but the county lags behind Herts and Bucks, says Regus.
Hertfordshire ranks higher than Buckinghamshire in Regus’s measurement of happy workers.
The Regus Index combines data from a poll of the region’s business people on their overall work-life balance and job satisfaction with real-life statistics on various practices such as working hours and commuting.
Sixty-one per cent of workers in Bedfordshire report they spend more time working now than they did two years ago, and over half feel they spend more time away from their home life, which is significantly above the national average of 37 per cent.
Also, two in three workers in Bedfordshire declare they have taken on additional duties at work since the recession began, which have not subsequently been picked up by a new member of staff.
In Herts and Bucks 61 per cent of workers in Herts declaring they are happy with the amount of time they spend with their families and 72 per cent of those in Bucks saying they enjoy work more than two years ago.
The report from Regus urges employers not to overlook the well-recognised link between staff wellbeing and productivity; happier staff work more effectively.
Flexible working practices, reducing commuting time, giving people the option of working from home or from a local “third place” such as a business centre or library are all ways of promoting work-life balance whilst helping staff work effectively, says Regus.
Dr Clare Kelliher, Professor of Work and Organisation at Cranfield School of Management, in Beds, said: “We know that a good work-life balance is essential for employees to live healthy, happy and productive lives. At a time when all businesses are striving for growth, this report serves as a reminder that employers should review their policies and practices to ensure that staff have the flexibility to achieve balance in their lives.”
Steve Purdy, UK MD at Regus said: “The launch of our new Work-Life balance Index brings the positive news that, generally speaking, our work-life harmony is improving, and seems to be particularly healthy in Hertfordshire and Buckinghamshire. This confirms ONS results that UK workers are satisfied with their work life. Undoubtedly one of the main reasons for this is that the economic outlook in the region is generally brighter than in 2010 and for many people job insecurity has lessened. However, workers remain under significant pressure, which is especially evident in the Bedfordshire statistics, as employers seek to drive productivity and do more with less.
“From an employer perspective, an important aspect of the research is the link between worker happiness and productivity. Employers cannot expect stressed, tired and overworked staff to remain productive. These days, forward-thinking companies that wish to increase efficiency are realising that they must adopt less traditional working practices and increase efficiency by giving workers more flexibility. One such measure that is becoming popular is helping workers to reduce tiring and unproductive commute time through the introduction of more flexible working practices.
“Whether these measures enable workers to travel out of peak time, to work from locations closer to home or to spend more time with their families there is no doubt that empowering workers to work their way is being acknowledged as an ever more important factor in promoting productivity and well-being.”