Work and life even less balanced for 10m workers

A survey suggests a third of people have been working for longer since the start of the recession. Although we suspect the remedy probably doesn't lie in Cornwall...

by Emma Haslett
Last Updated: 27 Apr 2015
Ah, work/life balance. If the press releases that land in MT’s inbox on a pretty regular basis are to be believed, it’s a sort of nirvana of the working world: almost certainly unattainable, but with plenty of learned, knowledgeable types to guide you on your quest to achieve it. And we’ve some interesting facts on the subject, courtesy of the Cornwall Development Company, which suggests that 10m people in the UK think their work/life balance has deteriorated as a direct consequence of the recession. Do not be afeared, though: its gurus have plenty of suggestions on how to sort it out…

According to the survey, which spoke to 3,000 workers across the UK, just over a third of people have been putting in extra hours at the office (/warehouse/whatever) since the beginning of the downturn, while one in 10 are feeling the change ‘acutely’. But while 18% say they’re doing it because the cost of living is rising, 29% blame it on their employer, saying they’ve been given additional responsibilities (although that’s not always a bad thing) and 21% say it’s because the companies they work for are under-staffed. For 19%, it’s because they ‘fear for their job’. Ouch.

The CDC and its surveyees are full of advice for concerned employers. 29% think it would help if they could work flexibly, while 13% would prefer a reduced commute (arguably, unless you’re based in the middle of nowhere, where your employees live is their problem …). There’s a warning to employers who flagrantly disregard work/life balance, too: apparently 63% would change their jobs if it meant they could spend more time at home. And 59% would move somewhere else. Which brings the CDC neatly to the business benefits of being based in (occasionally) sunny Cornwall. But like a delivery van that’s made it as far as Exeter before giving up and turning around, we won’t go into that…

Of course, for those who don’t have the luxury of being able to up sticks and head down south, there are other things businesses can do to improve things for workers. For small firms, flexible working might not always be an option – but granting the odd request to spend the afternoon at home would probably go down well. Failing that, of course, just showing your appreciation with a packet of sweets or a pint when workers have put in the extra hours seems like a reasonable course of action, too…

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

Upcoming Events

Subscribe

Get your essential reading delivered. Subscribe to Management Today