Employees who feel their job eats into too much of their lives won't be at their most productive. Find out how to reconcile life and work.
We know that British employees work some of the longest hours in Europe and we also know that British per-worker productivity lags behind that of many of our competitors. So it came as no surprise when, in June, a reader survey conducted by Management Today and WfD revealed that much of the UK's workforce felt unhappy with their work/life balance. Indeed 57% of respondents felt work was leaving less and less time for their personal lives and more than two-thirds felt, as managers, they were expected to ask ever more from their staff.
Many believed that their organisations were hardly helping matters: 63% said that working long hours was often confused with commitment and nearly a third said that workload pressure was becoming a prime cause of staff turnover.
In the months since the survey was published, these findings have been supported by a slew of stories in the media, showing employees trying to juggle work, family and other commitments, leaving little if any time for leisure or relaxation.
Now, as any manager knows, unhappy employees (particularly those who feel their jobs are eating into all areas of their lives) are unlikely to be at their most productive. The problem is obvious; what is more elusive is the solution. Not everyone can easily downshift or move to, say, a four-day week. Given the restrictions, the real question is what forward-thinking bosses should be doing to ensure that employees are able to strike the best balance.
To this end, Management Today and The Times have organised The Great Work/Life Debate, to look at the issues and problems raised by the survey and explore what can be done.
Topics ranging from employee flexibility to changing demographics will be put under the microscope and scrutinised with the aid of case studies from both individuals and companies.
The Great Work/Life Debate will take place at Church House Conference Centre in central London on 8 October and will be chaired by television presenter Nick Ross. Liz Bargh, chief executive of WfD and former director of Opportunity 2000, will present the results of the survey.
Other speakers will include Cary Cooper, professor of organisational psychology at the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology (UMIST), Fiona Cannon, director of equal opportunities at Lloyds TSB, Rabbi Julia Neuberger, Ted Smith, head of personnel at Glaxo Wellcome and Susan Lax, leader of diversity development at McDonald's.
The conference promises to be lively and illuminating and will offer delegates insight and workable solutions that they can put into practice.
Remaining places are limited, so those interested in attending should contact Tania Cassell at Haymarket Events on 0171 413 4116 without delay.