Headlines: September 5th, 2003

Work-life balance policies provide business benefits, according to The Work Foundation’s latest Managing Best Practice survey, but employers are slow to recognize them. In the public and voluntary sectors however, most organizations accept an organisational responsibility to help staff achieve a healthy work-life balance.There are pockets of resistance and almost a third of organisations in the UK still take a narrow statutory approach, limiting work life balance to obligations towards working parents. Responses from the HR professionals surveyed reveal that ‘management resistance to change’ was the number one difficulty organisations face in implementing work-life balance measures (30%).

Deputy director of advocacy at The Work Foundation, Nick Isles, says, “The idea that flexible working should only benefit the employer still pervades the thinking of too many UK managers. Survey after survey and case study after case study shows that those employers who instigate and apply policies that improve the work-life balance of their employees see bottom line benefits for their organisations.”

The top three benefits experienced from supporting employees’ work-life balance were identified as improved employee commitment/motivation (46%);higher retention rates (40%) and improved employee relations (37%). While the top three measures used to assist staff achieve a better work-life balance were the provision of part-time working (90%), family/emergency leave (85%), and general unpaid leave (78%).