Walking the line

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 There’s no better feeling than seeing the clock strike five on a Friday afternoon. The weekend brings two whole days where early morning alarm clocks and standing in line at the local Tesco at 1pm to buy a soggy sandwich are a distant memory.

Work-life balance has always been a difficult factor to measure – both for employers and their staff. Sure, companies want to get the most out of their staff – after all, a happy worker is a productive one. But should companies be doing more to give their workforce the Friday feeling throughout the rest of the week?

Recent figures from the Office of National Statistics show that workers in the UK trail only Greeks and Austrians for working the most hours in a week. The average full-time employee now works 42.7 hours. The Danes on the other hand manage to get away with doing only 39.1.

Unsurprisingly, the same report showed those happy Danes had a higher level of productivity per hour compared to the UK. In fact, 11 countries had a higher level of productivity per hour compared to over-worked UK employees. A happy, refreshed worker really is a productive one.

But is work-life balance judged solely on the amount of hours you work a week? Would you be happier with a smaller salary working part-time? I guess the answer in many instances would be no.

In an era when more people are having to take on additional responsibilities and enjoying less time with their families, employers have their own responsibilities to ensure staff can balance work, rest and play.

Flexible working hours – especially for representatives covering large territories – are appreciated, as are other ‘perks’ of the job. These may seen by some bosses as unnecessary and a hindrance, but it’s sometimes the little measures which are appreciated the most by those working at ground level.

In last year’s Pf Survey, respondents voted work-life balance as the fourth most important motivating factor. But, at the same time, it was also one of the least satisfying aspects of their job. Clearly, more still needs to be done to address the issue of balancing time spent at work and away from it.

Are you happy with your work-life balance? Does your company do enough to ensure you get chance to enjoy free time away from the office? Have your say today in the Pf Company Perception, Motivation and Satisfaction Survey here.