Work-life balance suffers due to economic downturn

More than half of businesses believe the economic downturn has had a detrimental impact on their employees’ work-life balance.

Figures from independent research commissioned by Cheshire-based PMI Health Group show 56 per cent of businesses believe their staff are working longer hours.

Despite this, almost 30 per cent of companies admit they are still not taking measures to improve work-life balance.

“Employers clearly believe the challenging economic climate has placed greater strain on their employees,” said PMI Health Group Director Mike Blake.

“Increased pressure on business to reduce costs and improve efficiency has, in turn, led to increased pressure on staff and a recent EU study revealed 78 per cent of British workers expect stress to increase further in coming years1.

“Longer hours and a heavier workload mean working responsibilities can infringe upon staff members’ home or family life, potentially leading to more serious long-term health issues.”

A significant majority (80 per cent) of companies surveyed admitted their employees’ work-life balance could be improved without adversely affecting business profitability.

Furthermore, 58 per cent believe work-life balance is now more important to staff than financial remuneration.

“In a world of increasing commercial pressures, faster communications and efficiency drives it is difficult to avoid greater pressure in the workplace but the onus is on employers to limit its effect,” added Mike.

“By offering initiatives such as flexible working hours and employee benefits programmes, they can better address the specific needs of individual staff members without significantly cutting into profits.

“The introduction of workplace wellbeing schemes and employee assistance programmes can also help to address the causes of stress and provide staff with the necessary support to deal with any problems that may arise.”