A new study suggests that the current “one size fits all” approach to work-life balance is not meeting the complex and changing needs of the workforce following the pandemic.
New research by Glassdoor has found there is still much variation when it comes to what staff look for in an effective work-life balance, leading to the need for more flexible policies.
Despite nearly half (48 per cent) of workers taking action to improve the blend of job and home during the COVID crisis, over half (52 per cent) admit that work regularly eats into their personal life.
Over a third (35 per cent) reported that a healthy balance simply isn’t possible in their current role.
This, alongside over two-thirds of people (67 per cent) desiring a different work-life balance than before the pandemic, should prompt employers to rethink their HR policies, the study advises.
However, this has been made significantly more complicated given the fact that there is much variation in what workers consider a good work-life balance.
For over a third (36 per cent), this would constitute flexible working hours but for a separate third (32 per cent), this group want a choice in where they work.
Almost one in four (23 per cent) stated they wanted a reduced working week, following the growing trend of a four-day work week.
The most popular definition (67 per cent) was the ability to allocate whatever time they chose to work and personal activities, creating a blended model of work.
This is becoming a growing priority for employees as the vast majority indicate this would be a key consideration when looking for their next role.
Importantly, employees see this change as a partnership; over half (53 per cent) believe the responsibility for ensuring a good balance between a job and home is shared between employee and employer.
Lauren Thomas, Economist at Glassdoor, expressed the importance of employers aiding staff in reaching a healthy work-life balance:
Discussions around wellbeing saw an immediate spike after the first lockdown in March 2020. However, it appears that employees are now feeling the impact of 18 months of change as mentions of burnout have increased 128 per cent since April 2021, suggesting that employers are not fully meeting the needs of their workforce.
Whether it is the autonomy to set one’s schedule, hybrid working policies or simply trust shown by management that work will be delivered without being tied to an office, it is clear that a healthy balance is best achieved when employees can individualise their approach to work.
*To obtain these results, this research was undertaken by Censuswide on behalf of Glassdoor and surveyed 2,017 UK employees who work full time between 6th-8th October 2021.
Monica Sharma is an English Literature graduate from the University of Warwick. As Editor for HRreview, her particular interests in HR include issues concerning diversity, employment law and wellbeing in the workplace. Alongside this, she has written for student publications in both England and Canada. Monica has also presented her academic work concerning the relationship between legal systems, sexual harassment and racism at a university conference at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.