Small businesses are more likely to have a healthy work-life balance than
their larger counterparts, but 60% of employees are still working harder
and longer hours than two years ago, a new report reveals.
The Regus Work-life Balance Index, which is based on a survey of more
than 16,000 business professionals in more than 80 countries, measures
job satisfaction and opinions on work-life.
The report shows Australian workers believe their work-life balance has
improved substantially since the financial downturn, with the index
registering a 36-point rise between 2010 and 2012.
Encouragingly, Australians have a better work-life balance than the
global average. The Australian index score sits at 129 points, which is
five points above the global average of 124.
But the report also reveals the gap between small and larger businesses
People working in SMEs are more likely to feel they have a better
work-life balance, with 42% of workers at large firms spending more
time at the office compared to 29% of SMEs.
Australians are also working harder than two years ago. More than half
of the Australian workers surveyed admit they have taken on additional
duties since the global economic crisis.
However, employers are focusing on reducing commute times to improve
employees' work-life balance.
More than a third (34%) of respondents said businesses have implemented
practices to shorten employee commute times.
As a result, more than two-thirds of workers are enjoying their jobs
more now, and are happy with the time spent between work and home.
According to William Willems, Regus vice president for South East Asia,
the results confirm Australians are working harder than two years ago,
and are spending more time at work.
"Despite the increase in time and energy, Australians still enjoy a
better work-life balance and are working less hours than the OECD
average," Willems says.
"Australians are also more satisfied with the time spent between work
and home compared to workers in the US, UK and France."
"[This suggests] that Australian firms are acknowledging the need for
work-life practices to produce happier and more productive staff."
Willems says the research is a significant reminder for companies to
adopt a more flexible approach to work, which will produce happier and
more productive employees.
"There are many measures businesses are adopting to make employees
improve work-life balance, including enabling workers to travel out of
peak time, to work from locations closer to home, and to work outside
the standard nine-to-five hours to spend more time with family," he
"[This], in turn, will help impact the business bottom line."
By Michelle Hammond