Work-life 'blend' the on-the-job trend

Employees are no longer as fussy about taking holidays.

Employees are no longer as fussy about taking holidays as they are about achieving a work-life balance, a new survey suggests.

According to the New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants, more than two-thirds of respondents (70%) rate flexible working hours as a key factor, while 59% do not want to let work stress affect home life.

At the other end of the scale, just 17% rated being able to take more holidays as a key way to achieving the balance.

More than 8800 NZICA members completed the survey between June and July.

The institute's 2011 survey showed a similar trend, with 62% of respondents rating a work-life balance as one of the three most important considerations when changing jobs.

Meanwhile, just 6% of employers used work-life balance practices to attract or retain staff.

Institute human relations and marketing general manager Jeana Abbott says achieving the balance is about when and how to work so it fits with family and out-of-work commitments.

Part 6AA of the Employment Relations (Flexible Working Arrangements) Amendment Act 2007 provides certain employees with the “right to request” flexible working arrangements and employers have “a duty to consider” any requests made under this right.

Ms Abbott says employers should accommodate flexible working arrangements in order to attract and retain staff.

Positive affect on business

A 2010 Department of Labour survey showed 70% of the employers involved as having some or all of their employees working flexibly and nearly 87% of them reported flexible working arrangements had a positive effect on the business.

Executive work-life coach John Groom says he is seeing more and more people wanting a better balance.

One of the new terms is "work-life blend", which suggests employees are more realistic about when and how they work.

Mr Groom says there seems to be two camps of thought since the recession. He had heard from one large employer whose boss felt their employees were lucky to have a job at all, yet at the other end of the scale people are reprioritising.

“People are starting to ask themselves what really matters in life,” he told NBR ONLINE.

Ms Abbott says there appears to be a disconnect between employees and employers on the importance of work-life balance. "In this year’s survey we wanted to get a better understanding of what it means to employees.”

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