It seems that there's never a day that goes past without work-life balance being mentioned somewhere in the news. And quite rightly so.
A university in the UK has called for train commutes to be classed as the 'working day' because so many commuters use the time to 'catch up' or 'get ahead' on emails at either end of the day. We're so used to being 'always on' we're struggling to switch off and it's affecting our health. Just google 'digital detox' and see the flood of results eulogising about switching off.
If you've had a holiday recently I bet you kept an eye on your emails, didn't you?
We're getting there...
A recent YouGov poll found that only 6% of people in the UK now work the traditional 9-5 hours (although I wonder how many commuters reading the article would disagree with that figure).
PwC should be congratulated for embracing the gig economy and seeing it as an opportunity rather than a threat to the traditional working way. The Flexible Talent Network initiative is aimed at attracting people and then finding the projects that suit their skills rather than the other way round, broadening their talent pool in the process. It seems they have come up with a good idea - 2,000 people have registered in the first two weeks since the initiative was launched.
And they're not the only ones...
Sky recently ran the Sky Returner Programme aimed at encouraging men & women who've had a career break back into work.
And Perpetual Guardian, the New Zealand-based company whose staff all work four days but are paid for five, following a successful trial.
But we need to do more...
All employees in the UK have the right to request flexible working but the uptake is still quite low. Are employees worried that they will be turned down or unfairly penalised if they do work different hours to others? Are employers dissuading staff from requesting flexible working as 'it will open the flood gates' to other requests? Yes and yes.
Trade unions are calling for the government to do more to encourage companies to truly embrace flexible working. At the recent TUC conference, the body called for organisations to be made to employ new technologies to benefit workers time management rather than to make them worker longer hours in a different area.
Whether you are a business owner, employer or employee may affect your stance on this but the message is clear. Companies need to change and take employees work-life balance seriously if they are to retain staff, attract the skills they need and ultimately to stay competitive.
This blog was written by Becky Reid, Tattoo Ink Marketing.
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