Magazine article Management Services

Workplace Culture Fails to Support Work-Life Balance

Magazine article Management Services

Workplace Culture Fails to Support Work-Life Balance

Article excerpt

Why aren't UK employees taking up their work-life balance options? Government and employers want greater flexibility in working hours; indeed many employers are offering it, without legislation, as a means of motivating and retaining valued workers.

Launching a new report Work-life Balance: Beyond the Rhetoric from the independent Institute for Employment Studies, Director Richard Pearson commented:

"Work-life policies don't just kick in automatically. There are significant management, cultural and communication issues to resolve. A good employer will want the business benefits. Therefore they will want to know why take-up is less than demand, and how they can provide the necessary leadership for change."

It is now widely recognised that work-life balance is about improved health and productivity, and keeping employees engaged with the organisation, including recognising their lives and commitments outside work. The long hours issue, and growing levels of absence, demonstrate the imbalance. The IES research, however, found a gap between the demand and take-up by employees of work-life options. Sally Dench, IES Senior Research Fellow and author of the report, explains:

"Rights to time off and flexible working practices are rarely enough. A change in culture and attitudes within the organisation is necessary for the successful implementation of work-life balance practices. Both individuals and their managers need support to overcome real barriers. If senior managers are serious about promoting work-life balance they need to take a more proactive stance; it rarely happens without positive leadership from above. …

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