Work-Life Balance Arrangements Advantageous to Both Employer and Employee

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By: Marie Donlon

According to a study from Newcastle University, offering employees work arrangements that improve the employee’s work-life balance can also give employers an advantage as well.

Benefits such as flexible scheduling and compressed work weeks can satisfy both the employer and the employee, according to Dr. AL James, author of the book “Work-life Advantage.”

Dr. James said: "While flextime allows workers to rejig the temporal pattern of hours worked, this merely addresses what for many workers is a symptom of work‐life conflict rather than its underlying causes: including, total hours worked and lengthy commutes.”

"Offering a comprehensive suite of options including greater flexibility in where work is done, a reduction in total hours worked, and assistance with childcare alongside flexible hours generates mutual gains for employer and employee," Dr. James continued.

Observing 300 IT workers at 150 high-tech companies in the UK and Ireland for 10 years, Dr. James determined that once employees made use of any of the work-life balance arrangements offered by their employer, 94 percent of employees reported feeling less stressed, while 79 percent of employees reported feeling more engaged in their work and 78 percent of employees reported feeling more creative while at work.

Ultimately, according to Dr. James, both creativity and greater engagement result in increased productivity, with over 60 percent of employers reporting an increase in productivity linked to offering work-life benefits.

Dr. James added, "The results highlight the irony of employers rolling back work-life provision in pursuit of short-term savings. There is an urgent need for more comprehensive employer‐provided work‐life balance packages that respond to the variations in employees' requirements according to their role, household situation, caring responsibilities and personal life interests. These are not merely costs to the firm, but also offer major advantages for firms' competitive performance — or in other words, it pays employers to care."

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